Man in custody who prompted Columbia City lockdown

WANE Staff Reports - COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WANE) – The man who prompted Columbia City Police to order businesses on lockdown and residents to stay away from the search for him is in custody as of late Thursday afternoon.

Skyler Roff had been considered armed and dangerous. Columbia City's Police Chief Tony Hively said city, county and state police arrested Roff around 4:15 Thursday afternoon.

The Police Department Task Force received several tips on Roff might be.  One particular tip led police to a property in northern Whitley County where Roff was taken into custody.

It was around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday when police issued an alert that asked businesses the Walmart store on Columbia City's north side near U.S. 30 to lock their doors amid a manhunt for the 34-year-old Roff. Police at the time said multiple law enforcement agencies began searching for Roff when he sped off in a vehicle then ran away on foot Wednesday as police were serving him warrants along Connextion Way.

Police focused an extensive search of a 300-acre area north and west of the Walmart in a wooded area with three K-9s and three drones for nearly 2 1/2 hours, but the 5-foot-10, 170 pounds Roff was not found. Around 7:45 p.m. police lifted the lockdown and said they were, "confident that residents and businesses are safe to return to normal operations."

Earlier on Thursday, Chief Hively told NewsChannel 15 that Roff was still on the lam. The police department had assigned a "scaled down" task force to search for Roff, he said.

Hively said the police department had received tips and leads on Roff, and officers were following them.

The chief said again that he did not believe Roff was a public safety risk, but did say he could be a threat to officers because he does not want to be captured. Hively told NewsChannel 15 Wednesday evening they believe Roff is armed with a 9mm handgun. He said when police searched Roff's car that he ran from they discovered what appeared to be an active meth lab.

Hively had encouraged family and friends of Roff to talk with him and get him to turn himself in to police.

Hively said police are familiar with Roff.

According to online court records, Roff was charged June 7 with criminal mischief and May 14 with driving while suspended and possession of paraphernalia. Warrants for Roff have been issued on both cases.

Roff was due to be sentenced in the May 14 case on July 10. He failed to appear in court on June 26 and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. On May 30 Roff pleaded guilty to both counts during a court appearance which was originally intended as a hearing on bond reduction.

The Police Chief said the situation is still under investigation.

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