PLYMOUTH – A second man suspected of breaking into a Bourbon liquor store and a town church has been charged in connection with the crimes.
The Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office charged Brandon Schoetzow, 24, on Monday with auto theft and two counts of burglary. He’s also charged with misdemeanor counts of resisting law enforcement and two counts of theft.
According to court documents:
Bourbon Officer Matt Geiger was dispatched shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday on a report of an alarm at Bourbon Party Pack, 201 W. Center St.
Geiger was on Lincoln Highway when dispatch told him a witness had spotted a black pickup driving westbound on Lincoln Highway. The officer turned around, turned on his lights and siren and began chasing the pickup.
During the pursuit, the driver, a white male, who was later identified as Schoetzow pulled over west of Fir Road, jumped out of the truck and fled through some thick brush and trees.
The truck continued to roll slowly away. As Geiger approached the truck, it sped off, reaching speeds of 45-55 mph.
The truck veered along the road – going completely off the road several times – but managed to avoid stop sticks set up by Marshall County sheriff’s Deputy Jordan Rans near Iris Road.
MCSD Sgt. Nick Laffoon also set up stop sticks near a small bridge between Iris and King roads. The driver, later identified as Laydon Butler Umanos, 34, of Fort Wayne, went over the stop sticks, deflating three of his tires, but the chase wasn’t yet over.
Butler Umanos continued on, speeding up to about 85 mph. As the chase continued westbound, he nearly struck the cruiser of Plymouth police Sgt. Tim Taberski, who was prepared to set up stop sticks yet again.
The pursuit ended with Geiger apparently passing Butler Umanos as he slowed. As Butler Umanos came to a slow stop, he struck Geiger’s cruiser. It wasn’t clear how much damage it caused to the police vehicle.
At gunpoint, Geiger ordered “at least three times” Butler Umanos to show his hands, according to a probable cause affidavit filed with the charges, before he was ultimately taken into custody.
When Geiger asked Butler Umanos to identify himself, Butler Umanos told Geiger he was “Jesus Christ,” according to the court papers.
Officers found alcohol, cigarettes and snack food inside the pickup’s bed. Inside the truck’s cab, they discovered iPads, a Samsung television and other items. They also found “bank type cards and checks” assigned to Country Church, 2951 9B Road.
Officers also determined the 2016 Ford F-150 truck had been stolen out of Marcellus, Mich.
A breath test determined Butler Umanos had a blood-alcohol content of 0.13 percent.
While officers weren’t initially able to find Schoetzow, MCSD Det. Sgt. Les McFarland was ultimately able to identify him via social media.
The detective determined he was a Wawasee High School graduate currently living in Michigan. When McFarland contacted Kosciusko County sheriff’s detectives, he learned Schoetzow was arrested Sunday on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear for a court hearing.
The church’s security camera captured the burglary suspects on video. McFarland was able to match clothing Schoetzow was wearing when he was taken into custody with clothing worn by one of the suspects in the video.
For his part, Schoetzow denied ever being in Marshall County as well as any involvement in the burglaries.
Geiger said in a press release Wednesday that Schoetzow will be transferred to Marshall County once Schoetzow’s court cases are resolved in Kosciusko County.
Butler Umanos was being held in the Marshall County Jail late Thursday.
He made an initial appearance in Marshall Superior Court I on Tuesday. Judge Robert Bowen appointed Plymouth attorney Joseph Simanski as his public defender.
The most serious charges against Butler Umanos and Schoetzow are the burglary counts, which are Level 5 felonies. A Level 5 felony is punishable by one to six years if convicted.