Four men were arrested after they allegedly broke into a woman’s home and held her captive for hours to rob her of the government stimulus check sent out to help struggling Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.
The woman, who was not named, reported the incident to police in Lake Station, Indiana at around 6 a.m. on Sunday, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported.
Lake Station Police Chief James Richardson told the newspaper that the woman said she had been held against her will for by four men she knew in the early hours that morning.
She reported that the she woke up when the men broke into her home on Dearborn Street in Lake Station at around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday. One of the men took away her phone so she was unable to call for help, she told police. Another man had a gun.
The men eventually left her residence, but promised to return and warned her not to leave, according to the Times of Northwest Indiana. But the woman made sure they had left and then drove to the Lake Station Police Department.
Police said the woman told officers that the men were aware that she had recently received her $1,200 stimulus check and wanted to rob her, according to the Times of Northwest Indiana.
The checks, issued as part of a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, started being sent out last week. Many of those who have already received their money will have chosen the direct deposit option when they filed tax returns for 2018 or 2019, but others are still waiting for their checks to come in the mail.
Four men—identified by The Times of Northwest Indiana as Paul David Blankenship, Phillip David Guzman, Christopher William Jay Henderson, and Jacob Baughman—were arrested after police launched an investigation.
Each was charged with burglary with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, criminal confinement and burglary of a dwelling and residential entry break and enter, the newspaper reported. The suspects are being held in Lake County Jail on $75,000 bail.
The Lake Station Police Department has been contacted for additional comment.
On Monday, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 1 in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus. People in the state must remain at home unless they are going out for an essential activity or to work an essential job.
Indiana has more than 12,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by.the novel coronavirus and 661 deaths, according to the latest figures from the state’s health department.
This infographic, provided by Statista, shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases around the U.S. as of April 23.