LEESBURG — A Leesburg man was arrested after he stole, crashed and abandoned two separate vehicles. Officers were able connect him to the crime after he wrote a stolen check out to himself and forgot it at the scene.
Carmen Melillo, Jr., 28, 322 East CR 575N, Leesburg, is being charged with burglary, a level 5 felony; two counts of auto theft, level 6 felonies; theft, a level 6 felony; and failure to stop after damage to property other than a vehicle, a class B misdemeanor.
On Oct. 5, officers with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department responded to an accident at Tippy Creek Winery in Leesburg. A black Chevy Suburban entered the business’ yard and struck LP tanks, causing them to leak. Upon arrival, the vehicle was abandoned.
The officer discovered the vehicle was registered to Joel Katzer who advised his vehicle had been stolen from his residence the previous day.
Later that day, a second officer responded to an impaired driver near the intersection of SR 15 and CR 700N. Upon arrival, the officer located an abandoned 1998 Ford Mustang registered to Leswego Farms.
A third officer responded to Leswego Farms for a burglary and auto theft call. The owner advised that sometime on Oct. 5, someone entered into his shop and the office area. The subject stole a 1998 red Mustang, television, chainsaw and other electronic items.
The officer was able to locate a checkbook with a check written out to Melillo for $1,000. It appeared that Melillo wrote the check out to himself but forgot it at the scene.
Melillo later admitted to officers that he stole the two vehicles, various items from Leswego Farms and wrote a check out to himself. Melillo was previously convicted of theft in January.
Melillo was booked into the Kosciusko County Jail on Oct. 5, with a $10,250 surety and cash bond.