ELKHART COUNTY — Lance Evans, 37, North Lake Street, Syracuse, was recently found guilty of criminal trespassing and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, following a two-day jury trial in Elkhart County Superior Court VI. The jury trial was held Oct. 30-31 with Judge David C. Bonfiglio presiding.
Evans will be sentenced on the two misdemeanor charges at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13.
Charges against Evans, a suspended Goshen City Police detective, stem from a Feb. 4 incident investigated by Indiana Conservation Officers. Reportedly Evans, who was off-duty at the time, was driving an all-terrain vehicle with a juvenile passenger. The pair entered property marked with “no trespassing” signs. The juvenile reportedly stole a memory card out of a trail camera that had recorded the two on the property. However, the camera also kept photos in its internal storage.
Investigators were told by a relative of the property owner Evans was recognized in the photo from “community interactions as well as previous encounters of trespassing on private property.” Conservation officers conducted a search of Evans’ home on Feb. 20, finding the ATV and a hat matching those in the trail camera photos. While Evans admitted to officers he drove the ATV at the time, he claimed he did not know the juvenile stole the memory card until after the investigation began.
However the juvenile involved told authorities Evans knew he took the camera card and the two looked at the photos on a laptop before the card was deleted and thrown away.
Goshen Police Department suspended Evans without pay starting March 20, which he has not challenged. He remains on unpaid administrative leave. An internal investigation by Goshen Police was launched after Evans was found guilty.
Evans is a Wawasee High School graduate and joined the Goshen Police Department as a reserve officer in 2009, being promoted to detective in 2016.