WARSAW — A Columbia City man was sentenced today, April 27, after resisting law enforcement and stealing two vehicles in January.
Brandon Eber pleaded guilty to auto theft and resisting law enforcement, and was sentenced to one year at the Kosciusko County Jail, followed by a year of probation. Eber will receive 110 days of credit for time already served. He was ordered pay $1,000 in restitution.
Eber’s charges stem from Jan. 7, when a North Webster Police Officer observed a black GMC Envoy at Freedom Express. The officer checked the vehicle registration and discovered the vehicle was reported stolen from Elkhart County.
The officer activated his emergency lights to conduct a traffic stop. The vehicle attempted to escape the officer and backed into a pole, causing damage. The vehicle then fled and the officer activated his siren and attempted to follow the stolen vehicle. The North Webster Police Officer then lost sight of the vehicle.
At this point, an officer with the Syracuse Police Department located the GMC Envoy on Epworth Forest Road. The stolen vehicle barely avoided hitting the officer’s patrol vehicle head-on. The officer activated his emergency lights and sirens and followed until he too lost sight of the stolen vehicle.
Later in the day, a female reported that her vehicle, a 1996 Pontiac Bonneville, had been stolen from her residence and the suspects had left a black GMC Envoy in its place. Officers with the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department discovered this Envoy to be the same one that fled officers earlier in the day.
Officers received information that the Pontiac was spotted at a driveway in Kosciusko County. Officers drove in behind the vehicle and verified that the Pontiac was the vehicle reported missing from Whitley County. The Syracuse Police Officer recognized Eber as the same subject who he had pursued earlier in the day in the Envoy.
During Eber’s sentencing, Prosecutor Katy Hampton referenced his prior offenses, “He has accumulated quite a criminal history.”
Joseph Sobek, Eber’s lawyer, mentioned his client’s struggle with mental illness. He explained that though Eber has a mental illness, it is not at the level that it affects his ability to understand the severity of his actions and feel remorse.
Eber stated, “I apologize for having to be in this courtroom in front of you today.”
Judge David Cates stated, ” You need to be a productive member of society…You need to follow the rules.”