WANATAH — La Porte County Councilman and former County Coroner John Sullivan has been charged with a felony for residential entry, Indiana State Police announced Friday.
In a brief statement Friday, state police said the charge resulted from an investigation that started in May 2018.
“During the course of the three-month-long investigation, it was revealed that Sullivan was seen entering a residence that was not his own in the town of Wanatah,” ISP said.
“Probable cause was developed which resulted in the filing of the charge of residential entry.”
A warrant was issued for Sullivan’s arrest and he surrendered to the La Porte County Jail, according to ISP.
Sullivan, a 57-year-old Wanatah resident, was released after posting a $750 bond.
After serving as coroner for eight years, Sullivan, a Democrat, announced in 2016 that he was ready to move on and would run for County Council, winning an at-large seat by finishing third in a seven-person race in the general election.
He has been involved in county government for more than 35 years.
In 1977, he joined the La Porte County EMS, where he worked for 10 years. He worked for the La Porte City Fire Department, serving as a shift commander for more than 25 years, and served on the Cass/Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Department for nearly 40 years. He has also been a school bus driver in Wanatah, where he runs a 300-acre grain farm in Clinton Township.
“I think I have a lot of good to bring to the council,” Sullivan told the La Porte County Herald-Argus in 2016, calling himself an amicable person who can get along with anybody.
Reached by phone on Friday evening, Sullivan said he has “tried to do a good through the years.”
He referred questions regarding his arrest to his attorney, Scott Pejic of Michigan City.
According to state statute, residential entry occurs when someone “knowingly or intentionally breaks and enters the dwelling of another person.”
It is a more serious charge than trespassing, which involves simply being on a property after being denied entry or being asked to leave. Residential entry is not as serious as burglary, which involves breaking and entering for the purpose of committing theft or another felony.
Indiana State Police would not provide further details on the case Friday night.
Sullivan was the victim of a break-in while serving as coroner two years ago.
In April 2016, someone borke into his home in broad daylight while his wife and their adult son were upstairs. They heard a loud noise and went down to find that a man had kicked in the door and was going through Mrs. Sullivan’s purse
He ran out when he saw, getting away with about $100. No arrest was ever made in that case.