Arrest made in hostage situation

Posted on July 26, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

ELKHART — A homeless Elkhart man is behind bars after he allegedly robbed a man and held him hostage in an overnight joyride around the city.

Elkhart Police were called to McDonald’s at 2808 Cassopolis St. early Thursday morning for a report of a fight.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Elkhart Superiour Court 1, Cpl. Christopher Faigh arrived at the restaurant at 5:47 a.m. on Thursday, July 25 to find a 68-year-old man suffering from severe facial injuries. Faigh observed that the victim’s eyes were severely swollen and bruised and his nose appeared to be broken. He also had a bloody cut on the left side of his face.

The victim told Faigh he had been robbed by the man who was in room 120 of the Budget Inn, 2807 Cassopolis.

The suspect was later identified as Tyrone Winkleman, 33. Tyrone is listed as homeless on the Elkhart County Sheriff’s inmate lookup.

The victim told police he checked into room 121 at the Budget Inn on Wednesday evening, July 24. He left the motel to run errands and eat dinner. When he returned, he saw Winkleman sitting in a chair outside room 120. The victim exited his 2003 Ford F350 and walked to the passenger side of the vehicle.

According to the affidavit, Winkleman approached the vehicle and muttered something about being unable to breathe. When the victim tried to assist Winkleman and call 911, Winkleman punched the victim in the face, grabbed him by the neck and started choking him.

The victim told police Winkleman held a knife to his throat and threatened to cut his head off before forcing him into room 120.

Winkleman ordered the victim to hand over his money. The victim said he begged his captor for his freedom and told him he’d do anything he wanted.

The victim opened his wallet and Winkleman took $40 in cash.

The victim was then confined to the room for an unknown amount of time until Winkleman demanded he hand over the keys to the pickup truck, the affidavit shows.

Winkleman ordered the victim into the passenger side of the truck and drove around Elkhart for a while before stopping at the Yoder Truck Stop, 1125 Kent Street, where he forced the victim to disclose the PIN number for one of his debit cards. The victim said he was afraid for his life, so he gave Winkleman the PIN and the last four digits of his social security number so Winkleman could used the card to withdaw money from an ATM.

Winkleman withdrew an unknown amount of cash from the machine and got back in the truck and drove around some more, the victim told police.

Winkleman then drove the victim to a trailer park and ordered the victim into a wooden shed near a residence. He shut the victim in the shed and returned about 20 minutes later with a sandwich. Then they returned to the truck and continued to drive.

The victim told police that while they were driving, a white woman flagged them down in the parking lot of a gas station on Franklin Street.

Winkleman invited the woman to join them and she accepted, the victim told police.

They continued to drive until the woman told Winkleman she wanted something to drink, the court document shows. The trio stopped at another gas station, were Winkleman bought the woman a six-pack of bottled beer.

The victim told police that Winkleman and the woman starting making comments about wanting drugs. The woman called someone on a cell phone and Winkleman drove them to an alley behind and unknown residence.

Winkleman and the woman both left the vehicle and went into the residence, but the victim did not try to escape because Winkleman had told him they “were in the ‘hood’ and would be able to find him within five minutes,” the victim told police.

When his captors returned to the vehicle, they drove back to the Budget Inn because Winkleman and the woman wanted to have sex, according to the affidavit.

Winkleman wanted the victim to stay in the room with them, but the victim convinced him to let the victim stay in his own room, room 121.

Winkleman had the victim’s cell phone and took the phone from room 121 so the victim could not call for help.

When Winkleman and the woman returned to room 120, the victim snuck out of his room and ran to the Marathon gas station at the corner of Cassopolis and C.R. 6 where he asked the attendant to call 911.

The victim was afraid Winkleman would chase him down with the knife, so he asked police to meet him next door at McDonald’s where there were more people.

When Faigh arrived, the victim told him Winkleman had his cell phone, several credit cards, room key and the keys to his truck.

Faigh and Patrolman Benjamin Martin went to the Budget Inn and made contact with staff before knocking on the door of room 120.

Faigh wrote in the affidavit that when Winkleman opened the door, he saw the woman lying naked on the bed.

The officers patted Winkleman down for weapons and found none, although they saw a black folding knife on the bed within reach of Winkleman.

The officers also saw a room key for room 121, the victim’s room, in plain view next to the knife.

Also in plain view were credit cards belonging to the victim, a large amount of money in crisp $20 bills, car keys and a cell phone matching the desciption of those belonging to the victim. A small white bag of white powder sat atop the television.

Winkleman got up to put a shirt on, and as he did the officers saw a credit card with the vitcim’s name on it hanging out of Winkleman’s pants waistband.

Faigh arrested Winkleman and advised him of his Miranda rights. He asked Winkleman what happened and why he had the victim’s card. Winkleman said the victim had been in his room and he was holding on to the card so that the victim didn’t lose it. Winkleman also told the officers he drove the victim’s vehicle to buy cocaine and admitted he had punched the victim in the face.

Faigh placed Winkleman in handcuffs and as he escorted him to the car, Winkleman said his right hand was hurting. The hand had a laceration that Faigh thought was sustained from punching the victim.

The victim was taken to Elkhart General Hospital with injuries to his face. He received several stitches to the side of his nose and was told he had a total of six fractures to the area around his nose and eyes. According to the affidavit, the victim was told it was possible he would require a cosmetic surgery.

Winkleman was arrested on a preliminary charge of robbery causing serious bodily injury, a Class A felony, and criminal confinement, a Class B felony. He was booked at the Elkhart County Jail on a $150,000 bond.

A hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 1 on Elkhart’s Circuit Court, where Winkleman will hear of his formal charges, if any are filed.

Reporter Sharon Hernandez contributed to this story.

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