Local police have arrested an Indianapolis man who they believe is behind a recent string of post office thefts, including an incident that occurred in Greencastle last Friday.
Gary VanDyke, 50, Indianapolis, was booked into the Putnam County Jail Tuesday afternoon on charges of vandalism and theft. Police believe he is responsible for breaking into postage vending machines in Greencastle, Plainfield and most recently in Brazil.
Greencastle Police Det. Randy Seipel told the BannerGraphic it appeared VanDyke went to these three towns in search of the post offices and entered the lobbies after hours, breaking into the automated stamp machines and taking what cash he could find inside.
Seipel said there was about $300 stolen from the Greencastle Post Office early Friday morning.
Putnam County Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Simmons, performing a routine traffic stop, pulled VanDyke over in his car early Tuesday morning on Interstate 70. He became suspicious of VanDyke after learning the Brazil post office had just reported theft from a vending machine. He found various tools in VanDyke's car, that he suspected may have been used in the thefts, and a baseball cap full of quarters.
VanDyke was released at the time, but his car was impounded. He was arrested Tuesday afternoon after returning to the area to retrieve his car.
A search of VanDyke's car yielded a set of broken screw drivers and a tire iron and large amounts of cash.
Det. Seipel interviewed VanDyke Tuesday afternoon and according to Seipel, he implicated himself in all three thefts and was arrested.
He told Seipel he was returning home from Evansville last Friday and, needing money for bills and drugs, stopped in Greencastle and broke into the postage machine.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Department, U.S. Postal Inspectors and Greencastle Police contributed to the investigation.
"This was an example of all the agencies working together on this case," Seipel said.
Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter charged VanDyke with theft and vandalism of a post office, both class D felonies. He is expected to appear in court Wednesday afternoon.