Man charged with burglary, confinement

Lazaro Valadez

ELKHART — A man faces burglary and kidnapping charges after a woman told police she came home to find him sitting on her couch.

Lazaro Valadez, 26, was arrested following the May 21 incident at a Locust Street residence. He was charged with residential burglary, a Level 4 felony, and criminal confinement, a Level 6 felony.

He was booked in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility on $150,000 bond. His charges carry a sentence of up to 14-1/2 years together. 

According to court documents:

An Elkhart Police patrolman responded to the 1400 block of Locust Street around 6:30 p.m. for a report of a man approaching people and claiming to be god. The man told the officer he was trying to save people, and claimed to live at a Locust Street address but only since that morning.

He gave the officer a recently issued driver’s license that identified him as Lazaro Valadez, living in Bristol, as well as a house key. The key didn’t fit the lock of the house Valadez claimed to be living at, though the rear door of the residence had been forced open and the fence around the yard was broken.

A woman who does live at the residence told police she came home just before 6:30 p.m. and found Valadez sitting on the couch with her dog. She was startled because they had never met before.

She said Valadez grabbed her arm and told her she had to come with him. He also asked her if she was afraid to die.

He grabbed the back of her shirt as she tried to get outside and scream for help. The woman was able to get outside and into a passing truck, and called police.

The driver of the truck told police he had encountered Valadez a short time earlier at the residence, asking for help getting in. He said he didn’t believe Valadez lived there so he declined to help and drove away.

He said he circled back because he didn’t feel right about the situation, which was when he saw the woman running away from Valadez and let her into his truck.

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