Chicago crime, violence spilling into Indiana
GARY, Ind. - Chicago violence is spilling onto Indiana freeways.
"The crime right now is so high, there’s such a fever pitch that guns are everywhere on the streets," said Indiana State Police Sgt. Glen Fifield.
In early June, an armed robbery at First Midwest Bank in Gary, Indiana left an Illinois security guard dead.
After grabbing the cash, one of the suspects, who was later caught and charged, headed straight for the Illinois/Indiana border, according to police.
"We have had pursuits here in Indiana and [the] majority of them they wind up on 80/94," said Sgt. Fifield.
"It's not uncommon for them to make a run for the Illinois-Indiana border," he added.
Sgt. Fifield has been patrolling the Indiana highways for 25 years and says he’s never seen it this bad.
"Yes we've stopped cars [that] have had guns in them that were on their way to Chicago," he said.
Illinois State Police have seen an historic year for interstate shootings around the Chicagoland area.
More than 164 have been reported so far this year. Indiana has seen more than 20 freeway shootings during the last 12 months, near the Illinois border.
"We've seen an uptick in it just because we get a little bit of the overflow from the Chicago area, here in Northwest Indiana," Sgt. Fifield said.
Over the past eight months, Lake County Indiana sheriff’s deputies have confiscated high powered riffles, stacks of cash and loads of drugs.
The county sits along the Illinois border.
"We knew that a lot of drugs were going into Chicago as a distribution point. And from there it's distributed throughout the Midwest," said Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez, Jr.
This year alone, the sheriff’s High Crimes Unit has recovered 60 weapons.
"A lot of these guns are stolen from Illinois residents when they burglarize," said Sheriff Martinez.
This year, the sheriff’s department has made nearly 50 arrests from criminal pursuits.
In more than half of those cases, the criminals were from or fled to Illinois.
"We've also seen a lot of vehicles being stolen in Illinois or Chicago, crossing into the Indiana state line, committing other crimes drive by shootings, homicides, burglaries," said Sheriff Martinez.