The Van Wert County Sheriff's Office conducted a search warrant on Thursday at 12001 Sate Route 81. (Photo submitted)
The Van Wert County Sheriff's Office conducted a search warrant on Thursday at 12001 Sate Route 81. (Photo submitted)

VAN WERT – The Van Wert County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant on Thursday in relation to an identity fraud investigation. As a result, Tommy Searles, age 56, was arrested and items were seized for evidence.

Van Wert County Sheriff Tom Riggenbach stated that at 12:41 p.m., deputies executed a search warrant at 12001 State Route 81 in Liberty Township. The search warrant was the result of an investigation into identity theft and other related crimes. The homeowner, Searles, was arrested on a traffic stop by Sheriff’s deputies minutes after the search warrant was executed. Searles was wanted on drug charges from the Huntington County Indiana Sheriff’s Office.

During the search of the residence for items related to the identity fraud investigation, suspected drugs and drug paraphernalia were discovered. Deputies then obtained a second search warrant to be able to seize those drug related items and any other drug related items that may be located.

Items seized for evidentiary purposes were:

-Miscellaneous Medical Paperwork

-Miscellaneous Vehicle Titles

-Miscellaneous Deeds

-Multiple Cell Phones

-Laptop Computer

-.22 caliber Rifle

-Numerous pieces of drug paraphernalia

-Small amount of white powder

Sheriff Riggenbach said Searles was taken to the Van Wert County Correctional Facility where he is being held on one county of identity theft, a felony of the 3rd degree, pending an arraignment in Van Wert Municipal Court.

Sheriff Riggenbach asks anyone that has information on suspected identity theft, drug activity, or other crimes contact the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office. Citizens with information can call 419-238-3866 or use the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office website at www.vanwertcountysheriff.com and click on the “Submit a Crime Tip” link. Anyone reporting information can remain anonymous. Sheriff Riggenbach stated his office will continue to aggressively pursue all drug tips that his office receives.

Citizens can also report information on other crimes by using the above options or by contacting Van Wert County Crime Stoppers at 419-238-STOP. Citizens can remain anonymous when contacting the Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers.