A Purdue senior posted bail around 6:30 p.m. Friday after he was arrested hours before on charges of auto theft and driving while intoxicated.
A stolen Purdue police car was seen by a group of students in Tower Acres early Friday morning. Brock Bemiller, a senior in the College of Science and a member of Circle Pines Cooperative, was found and arrested near Martin Jischke Drive and Stadium Avenue after the incident was reported by the group of witnesses.
Purdue Police Capt. Steve Dietrich said the “squad car incident” began 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.
“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.”
Dietrich also said there will be a review of the incident, including of the officer who was responsible for the stolen vehicle, by that officer’s captain.
“It will move from there,” Dietrich said, “but whether there will be disciplinary action, I can’t say.”
Mark Fisker, a junior in the College of Technology and a member of Theta Chi fraternity, said he was the student who called the police to alert them about the stolen vehicle.
“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.
Another witness and member of Theta Chi, Nate Sech, described what he saw when officers arrived on scene.
“We saw a cop car on David Ross Road going north with the lights on,” Sech said. “He slowed down at Phi Psi, at which point he hopped the curb and drove to the porch. He then exited the vehicle and ran over to us at Theta Chi where we were sitting ... he then turned and ran south through the Acres.”
After making a positive I.D., the policemen had Sech and Fisker fill out reports.
According to the Tippecanoe County Jail Division, because Bemiller posted bail before he was seen at the magistrate, his new court date will be Jan. 7, 2013.