Police capture trespasser, find second suspect hiding in icy ditch

Local News

Two men were taken into police custody in Cromwell on Friday after hiding from police in icy water. 

The Noble County Sheriff Department was called to a house near State Road 5 around 8:30 a.m. A woman had called police after discovering someone on her property who didn’t belong there. She advised she had come home to a male going through one of her vehicles. 

When officers arrived, they began forming perimeter around the property with police units. Both Noble County drones were also deployed and an aerial search began.

Indiana State Trooper David Caswell came to the scene and brought with him his K9 partner Chase. The pair located footprints in a field west of the victim’s residence that led to a county ditch lined with trees. The K9 team tracked the suspect’s scent westbound along the water filled ditch.

The male suspect was flushed out of hiding and located by Deputy Shafter Baker via the drone. He was soaking wet and taken into custody without further incident.

While searching for a backpack dropped by the suspect, police noticed some shoes submerged in the water beneath a drain culvert. It was then that they realized there had been a second suspect involved in the incident.

The man had been hiding in the ice cold water for nearly an hour and was suffering from hypothermia. He was transported by EMS for medical treatment and later booked into jail for an outstanding warrant.

Joseph Chaffins, 22, of North Webster, and Charles D. Zollinger, 30, of Warsaw, were the two suspects located. Both are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Police units from the Noble County Sheriff’s Department, Cromwell Police Department, Indiana State Police, Kosciusko County Sheriff Department and Department of Natural Resources assisted in the investigation.

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