KNOX – A Fort Wayne man was being held on $250,000 bond in the Starke County Jail late Monday after he was charged with robbing a North Judson man at gunpoint to get money to support his soon-to-be-born child, according to court papers.
The Starke County Prosecutor’s Office charged Cohen B. Hancz-Barron, 19, with a single count of armed robbery, which is a Level 3 felony.
According to court documents:
One of Hancz-Barron’s friends contacted him after the friend’s vehicle broke down at a Knox business on Aug. 23. Hancz-Barron agreed to pick up the friend as long as the friend had money for gas.
When Hancz-Barron arrived at the business, he had another friend in the front passenger seat. His friend with the car problems got in the backseat.
During the trip back to the original friend’s North Judson home, Hancz-Barron told the friend he needed to drop off his other friend first. He pulled off south of S.R. 8 along C.R. 600 East.
There Hancz-Barron pulled a handgun on his friend in the backseat and demanded his wallet.
“‘I don’t want to do this, but give me your wallet,’” Hancz-Barron told the friend according to court documents.
The friend asked Hancz-Barron if he was serious.
“‘Yes, I am serious,’” Hancz-Barron said according to court papers. “‘I have a baby on the way.’”
Hancz-Barron told the friend that if he didn’t turn over his wallet he would shoot him in the head and throw his body in a ditch.
The friend turned over the wallet. Hancz-Barron took $400 out and threw the wallet back at his friend.
The front seat passenger, who is not identified in the court documents, then got out of the vehicle, opened up the back door and began punching Hancz-Barron’s friend repeatedly in the face. Hancz-Barron kept the handgun pointed at his friend during the beating.
The front seat passenger then pulled the backseat passenger out of the vehicle. Hancz-Barron and the front-seat passenger then drove off.
The victim then ran to a nearby home and called police. The Leader is not identifying the man because he’s alleged to be a violent crime victim.
Starke County sheriff’s Deputy Chris Bortone determined that Hancz-Barron had multiple addresses connected to him, including in Starke County and Fort Wayne.
Bortone reached out neighboring police agencies to be on the lookout for Hancz-Barron. He also had dispatchers contact Fort Wayne investigators to check a pair of addresses there.
Shortly before 2 a.m. the next day, Fort Wayne officers found Hancz-Barron at a city home. When Hancz-Barron answered the door, he was holding a handgun.
Hancz-Barron made an initial appearance in Starke Circuit Court in late August.
Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall appointed Winamac attorney Blair Hall as his public defender. Hancz-Barron is set to stand trial at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23.
The Level 3 felony charge he faces is punishable by three to 16 years if convicted.