Ex-officer to appear for hearing

COLUMBIA CITY — The Fort Wayne man and former state excise officer accused of staging the break-in of an Indiana State Excise Police evidence room in Columbia City is scheduled for a pre-trial conference Feb. 15, according to the Whitley County Prosecutor’s Office.Aaron M. Bishop, 34, was arrested Nov. 24 and charged with theft and official misconduct in connection with the Aug. 4 break-in.Bishop has been free on $8,000 bond since shortly after his arrest.On Nov. 29, he pleaded not guilty to the charges and told then Whitley County Superior Court Judge Michael Rush he wished to hire his own attorney.According to the Whitley County Prosecutor’s Office and Indiana State Police, Bishop was arrested at his residence in Fort Wayne following a three-month investigation of the burglary.The probe led police to Bishop’s Fort Wayne residence which resulted in the arrest of Bishop, who had served with the excise police for approximately five years.A search warrant was served on Bishop’s residence in the 7000 block of Stonegate Place in Fort Wayne. Police said items of “an evidentiary nature were located and secured.”Other related items were found at a residence in Edon, Ohio where an alleged accomplice is said to reside.The local excise office said Friday Bishop is no longer considered an excise officer.Both of the charges Bishop faces are Class D felonies.