By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A Chicago man will serve a 4 1/2 year sentence in jail and on probation after a lengthy pursuit involving a stolen vehicle from a North Dakota business.
Edward D. Freeman, 23, Chicago, Ill., was charged with theft – value of property over $50,000, a level 5 felony; and resisting law enforcement, a level 6 felony. Two additional criminal charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Freeman was sentenced in Kosciusko Superior Court Three on Tuesday, Nov. 28.
For theft, Kosciusko Superior Court Three Judge Chad Miner sentenced Freeman to four years in the Kosciusko County Jail, with six months executed and 3 1/2 years suspended on probation. Freeman also received a six-month KCJ sentence for resisting law enforcement. Both counts will be served back-to-back.
In total, Freeman received a 4 1/2 year sentence, with one year in KCJ and 3 1/2 years on probation.
Freeman must also pay $9,534.27 in restitution to Finley Motors in Finley, N.D. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Naue said the restitution would cover costs the dealership incurred for repairing the Jeep after it was damaged in the pursuit. The Jeep Cherokee was sold after it was repaired.
Defense Attorney Austin Rovenstine said alternative sentencing such as work release and community corrections were not available as options since Freeman did not have any local ties to the community.
On April 8, a Mentone Police officer saw a speeding Jeep Cherokee and attempted to pull it over. Its driver, later identified as Freeman, did not stop and reached speeds of 120 mph. According to court documents, the pursuit went west on US 30 until it ended in LaPorte County.
Upon further investigation, officers discovered the Jeep was purchased online from a vehicle dealership in North Dakota and shipped to a location in Chicago. The Jeep was financed to a man, who contacted the vehicle dealership and asked why he was supposed to start making payments on a new vehicle he never purchased. The Jeep Cherokee was reported stolen by fraud.