GOSHEN — A Middlebury man is charged with armed robbery for allegedly stealing a pocketful of toy cars at gunpoint.
Luke Neeley, 38, was arrested last week and charged in connection with the May 2 robbery at an antique auction in Goshen. Police say he stole several Hot Wheels cars off a vendor’s table and, when confronted, pulled out a handgun and warned people, “Don’t (mess) with me.”
He was charged with two counts of armed robbery, a Level 3 felony punishable by up to 16 years in prison, as well as a count of intimidation, a Level 5 felony, and misdemeanor theft. His bond was set at $100,000 in the court order for his arrest.
His initial hearing is set for Thursday in Elkhart County Circuit Court.
According to court documents:
Goshen Police officers responded to Peddlers Village Auction and spoke with two men who had witnessed someone take five toy cars from a table. They said the man displayed a handgun when they tried to stop him, then left in a vehicle.
The witnesses were another shopper at the auction and the co-owner of the venue. In a later police interview, the attendee said he thought the man looked suspicious so he stood by and watched as he picked up the cars, put them in the pocket of his hoodie and walked away.
He told the auction co-owner and they both approached the man as he was walking quickly toward the door. They told him he needed to take back what he stole but he said he didn’t steal anything.
They said the man then pulled out a gun with his finger on the trigger. He pointed it directly at the shopper and told him “Don’t (mess) with me,” then stepped around the two men and walked to his car.
The witnesses were able to get the license plate from the vehicle. They said they didn’t know who the robber was, but they both picked Neeley out of a photo lineup.
Police found Neeley at his job in Middlebury on May 22 and arrested him. He was not interviewed by officers because he refused to answer questions without his attorney present.