ELKHART — Police said they believe two men they arrested on burglary charges last week had hit the same house twice in one day, leaving behind medical paperwork the first time.
Gerald Harvell Jr., 30, of Elkhart, and Lavell Newton, 28, of South Bend, were both charged with burglary of a home, a Level 4 felony.
Police arrested the men July 6 after being called to a burglary in progress at a Harrison Street residence and allegedly finding them inside.
They were booked in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility, Harvell on $50,000 bond and Newton on $20,000. Their initial court hearings were set for Friday.
A Level 4 felony carries a punishment of up to 12 years in prison.
According to court documents:
Police responded to the home about 11:45 p.m. after the resident called 911 and said he could see at least one man inside. Before noticing anyone or hearing voices, he saw that interior lights were on which he knew he had switched off, and found that a stool had been lodged under the knob of the front door inside.
Several officers arrived and set up a perimeter around the home. They could see a man turn a light on inside and look out the window, and they ordered him to come out.
Newton exited the home followed by Harvell, who was holding a black bag, water bottle, pop can and a bag of chips.
Newton claimed he was given permission to be at the residence from a guy who he knew from taekwondo class. Newton used the resident’s first name, but the man told police he didn’t take taekwondo and didn’t recognize either of the intruders.
He guessed they must have gotten his name from something they saw inside the house. He had made a burglary report earlier that day, when someone had broken into the home through a second story window.
The homeowner had given police a bag someone left behind the first time that contained hospital paperwork for Newton.
While looking through the house after the second burglary attempt, police found a briefcase and backpack that belonged to the homeowner in an upstairs bedroom. The bag had several of his belongings in it as well as a large amount of quarters.
The water bottle Harvell was holding appeared to have come from the fridge inside the home, because it was cold and was the same brand as a pack in the fridge. He told police he didn’t touch or take anything inside, and that he had been invited to the residence by Newton, who claimed to be working at the house for the owner.