CROWN POINT — The FBI and Indiana State Police raided the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and his home early Thursday.
A number of FBI agents and state police investigators entered the offices of Lake County Sheriff John Buncich at the Lake County Government Center, 2293 N. Main St., about 9:30 a.m.
They left early Thursday afternoon with several boxes of documents they loaded into an FBI panel truck.
Ramsey and Ryan Holmes, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, said federal authorities were serving search warrants on the county sheriff early today. Holmes declined to comment on what documents are being sought or who is being targeted.
Sources within county government said investigators were looking into rumors of bribery involving towing vendors and police, and were looking for towing contracts and campaign finance reports.
At the same time that federal agents were raiding the Lake County sheriff’s office, several members of the Indiana State Police and the U.S. Department of Treasury shut down Kustom Auto Body, 5409 U.S. 6, Portage, in an apparent raid Thursday morning.
Police vehicles blocked the entrance to the business. Police could be seen going in and out of the building. The treasury agent referred all questions to a department spokesperson, who has not yet returned calls. A call to the business also went unanswered.
“They were taking pictures of everything,” Delisle said. He said sheriff’s employees appeared upset as they were preparing to leave.
Federal agents then fanned out to the Lake County Voter Registration and Election offices, where campaign finance records are kept, and the Lake County E-911 offices, which keeps records of police radio communications to serve search warrants for documents.
The elections board office and E-911 offices were allowed to remain open and continue operating.
Buncich couldn’t be reached for comment and wasn’t seen Thursday outside his home.
The county sheriff’s department has had as many as eight contracts with towing firms who police use to remove abandoned cars from accident and arrest scenes.