WARSAW — Mayor Joe Thallemer is fighting back against two claims, including accusations that he ordered a search warrant on Chad Zartman, a landlord who lives outside the city but has rental properties in Warsaw.
Zartman, who often attends and records city council meetings, was served with a search warrant March 28 by Indiana State Police who confiscated two cell phones in his possession. According to a search warrant Zartman provided InkFreeNews, he is being investigated for identity deception.
According to Indiana law, a person who knowingly uses identifying information of another person without their consent and uses it with intent to harm or defraud another person can be found guilty of a misdemeanor. Such instances can be considered a felony if the case involves more than one hundred people or causes $50,000 in harm to a person.
The warrant allows authorities to review phone contact lists, call logs, notes, photos, images, video files, graphics, applications data and memory cards. The warrant was approved on March 26 by Kosciusko Superior Court Judge Joe Sutton.
InkFreeNews doesn’t normally report on police investigations until there is an arrest, but Zartman began complaining about the seizure on social media several days later, alleging Thallemer ordered the move.
Zartman calls the seizure a “Gestapo tactic” and alleges it is “politically motivated” ahead of the May 7 election.
Zartman’s allegation against Thallemer has been posted on multiple Facebook pages and generated more than 100 comments, including the Facebook page, Warsaw Community.
Thallemer, in a post on his campaign Facebook page, said he felt the need to respond to allegations made by Zartman that the mayor somehow convinced the Warsaw Police, Indiana State Police, the county prosecutor and a sitting Judge to allows the seizure of Zartman’s phones.
Zartman said one phone is for personal use while the other is used to record public meetings.
“A city mayor has absolutely no authority to issue subpoenas or arrest warrants — only the county prosecutor has this authority to do this,” Thallemer said in his post.
“As usual, The Warsaw Community Facebook page, along with the Kosciusko News Facebook page and other likeminded fake news pages that are trying to get Ron Shoemaker voted into office are using lies and deception to achieve their goal. If this story was true, would you not see this plastered all over the real media?”
Zartman has also accused Thallemer of attempting to hack into a website, joeisbadforwarsaw.com, one of several websites and Facebook pages intended to criticize the mayor.
Thallemer also mentioned Kyle Babcock, a former city councilman who ran unsuccessfully eight years for mayor against Thallemer.
“We are not sure who is writing the material for Mr. Zartman and Mr. Babcock (Warsaw Community and Kosciusko News), but according to them, Joe not only controls climate change, the weather, the price of steel, what Apple’s newest phone is going to be like and the Asian markets, but now he is also a computer hacker???? They need to hire a better comedian,” Thallemer’s post read.