Excise officer accused of theft

COLUMBIA CITY — A Fort Wayne man and state excise officer is free on bond after being arrested early Wednesday morning, accused of staging the break-in of an Indiana State Excise Police evidence room in Columbia City.Aaron M. Bishop, 34, was arrested at 2:04 a.m. Wednesday, charged with theft and official misconduct.He was booked at the Whitley County Jail on $8,000 bond and is scheduled for an initial hearing in Whitley Circuit Court Monday.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 into the burglary of the Columbia City evidence room Aug. 4.ISP’s Fort Wayne-based Criminal Investigation Division is reporting Whitley County Sheriff Det. Chuck Voegley initiated the investigation.Voegley received the assistance of State Police Det. Mark Heffelfinger and Mike Christie, investigator for the Whitley County Prosecutor’s office who put together a case over the past three months. 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.Both of the charges Bishop faces are Class D felonies.A search warrant was served on Bishop’s residence in the 7000 block of Stonegate Place in Fort Wayne on Tuesday night.Police say items of “an evidentiary nature were located and secured.”Other related items were found at a residence in Edon, Ohio where an alleged accomplice, who is currently incarcerated in the Williams County (Ohio) Jail on unrelated charges is said to reside.According to ISP Public Information Officer Ron Galaviz Friday morning, that suspect is still in jail today in Ohio, and the Whitley County Prosecutor’s Office has not announced charges against the suspect yet.Galaviz lauded the cooperative efforts of all the police entities involved, including Bishop’s own agency.“We had the full cooperation from the command and staff of the Indiana Excise Police in this matter,” Galaviz said Wednesday. “They (Indiana Excise Police) were instrumental in assisting in this matter.”