WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A Purdue Police squad car was stolen early Friday morning.
According to our news partners at the Exponent Brock Bemiller, 22, was arrested on charges of auto theft and driving while intoxicated. The car was found at 1307 Tower Drive, the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house.
Bemiller, a Purdue student, is a member of Circle Pines cooperative.
Members of Theta Chi fraternity were walking back to their house in Tower Acres when they saw the police vehicle going north with the lights on. Nate Sech, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, said he saw the car as it was driven up on the curb and toward the Phi Kappa Psi porch.
"(The suspect) then exited the vehicle and ran over to us at Theta Chi where we were sitting on the bench," Sech said. "He repeated that he loved Theta Chi and asked us if we loved Phi Psis. He then turned around and ran south through the Acres."
Mark Fisker, a junior in Theta Chi, then called the police to report the incident.
"Basically, I said, 'I just wanted you guys to know that one of your police cars is on the lawn and a student just ran out of it, so you guys may want to come get that,'" Fisker said.
When officers arrived on scene, he explained what they had seen and described the suspect. A few minutes later, another squad car showed up with the suspect in the back and Sech made a positive I.D.
Sech added that an officer said the suspect was found passed out on the corner of Martin Jischke and Stadium Streets. He said the officers then had Sech and another witness fill out a report.
Purdue Police Captain Steve Dietrich said the "squad car incident" occurred near Harry's Chocolate Shop. Two officers, who were in two separate squad cars, were talking to Bemiller, who potentially posed a threat to himself and others due to his state of intoxication.
When a fight broke out across the street, the two officers went to handle the more serious situation at hand, and in the time they were gone, Bemiller stole one of the cop cars.
Dietrich said Bemiller was arrested and later charged with auto theft and driving while intoxicated. He was taken to jail where he is currently in custody.
"It's a big issue for us," Dietrich said. "An incident like this puts a lot of people in danger ... if there was a catastrophic incident that was happening in two places simultaneously, it would've been hard for us to handle."
According to the Tippecanoe County Jail Division, Bemiller's bail is set for $5,000, 10 percent of which can be paid while the rest can be covered with leverage. He is set to go to court Nov. 19.
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