Man accused of stealing license plate, equipment from vehicles

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - A man was arrested after he allegedly stole a license plate and equipment from two vehicles in South Bend, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Ramon Mendez was arrested on one count of theft where the value of property is between $750 and $50,000 and one count of theft with a prior conviction.

On November 14, officers with the Pokagon Tribal Police Department responded to a theft report in the Four Winds Casino parking garage in the 3000 block of Prairie Ave.

The caller said about $1,365 worth of equipment was stolen from his vehicle, which was parked in the parking deck.

Security footage of the parking garage showed a white Ford pickup truck pull up next to the victim's vehicle.

The occupant of the Ford gets out and is seen moving equipment from the victim's vehicle to the Ford.

The person was wearing a ski mask at the time of the incident.

The license plate on the Ford was registered to a brown Ford Ranger.

Officers contacted the owner of the license plate, who said the Ranger was used by his son but that the license plate had been stolen while the Ranger was parked at Ivy Tech College, according to reports.

Security footage from the morning of November 14 showed a white Ford pickup truck pull up next to the brown Ranger in a parking lot on campus.

The occupant of the white Ford is seen getting out of the vehicle and removing the license plate from the Ranger, reports said.

The white Ford then leaves the campus.

After further investigation, officers tracked the white Ford to the 300 block of E. South St.

While conducting surveillance on the Ford on November 22, officers saw an unknown man, later identified as Ramon Mendez, open the door of the pickup.

Police approached Mendez.

While speaking with him, Mendez allegedly told police he stole equipment from the casino parking garage and the license plate from the brown Ford Ranger.

After being taken into custody, Mendez again admitted to stealing the construction equipment and license plate.

He would not tell police where the equipment was but said he trades stolen goods for methamphetamine, according to reports.

Mendez was previously convicted of theft in Elkhart County in 2020.

UPDATE: In March 2023, Mendez was sentenced after pleading guilty to theft with a prior conviction as part of a plea agreement. As part of the plea, his other charge for theft was dismissed. Mendez was sentenced to two years and six months with 18 months suspended and 125 days of jail credit. He will be on probation for 12 months.

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