Man arrested after running from police, jumping into the river

LAWERNCEPORT – A Mitchell man was arrested Saturday after a Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department deputy was requested to the 3350 block of Lawrenceport Road after a report of a burglary.

The caller reported someone had broken into his cabin and stole numerous items including a weedeater, leaf blower, electric hand tools, a mini fridge, food, bedding, blankets and towels.

Police found footprints from the back of the cabin going towards the cabin next door.  At that cabin, police found a black plastic tote outside the cabin that contained the caller’s blankets and towels. Police also found the caller’s rake and shovel propped outside of the cabin.


Joe Porter

Unsuccessfully, police attempted to get Porter to answer the door. While waiting on the requested search warrant, another neighbor reported missing items. The neighbor believed 39-year-old Joe Porter had stolen his personal property items. He stated he had seen some of his own clothing articles hanging outside Porter’s cabin.

 Officers forcibly gained entry once the search warrant was obtained.

Once entry was made, police discovered the door had been bolted to the door and then nailed to the floor. Officers also discovered a rug covering an open hole in the floor to a stairwell that went to a lower level of the cabin.

Police ordered Porter to come out of his hiding spot. When doing so, Porter resisted, causing an officer to lose his balance and fall to the bottom of the stairwell. Porter escaped and ran down Lawrenceport Road. Ensuing in a foot pursuit, an officer was able to catch up with Porter but was unable to detain him. Porter eventually rolled down a steep embankment, entered the river, and disappeared under a river cabin.

Porter finally emerged at the water’s edge and threatened to jump in again, if officers were going to take him to jail.

The Bedford Police Department arrived with a K-9 unit and an Indiana Conservation officer arrived with a boat. After about an hour, a conservation officer was able to convince Porter into surrendering. Porter walked up the embankment and was arrested.

An ambulance was called to the scene where Porter was treated for injuries he suffered from fleeing the police. He was then transported to IU Health Hospital by a police officer for further treatment.

The stolen property from both victims were recovered in Porter’s cabin and returned to the owners. 

Police say hundreds of stolen items were recovered from the two burglaries. Stolen property was also recovered from a third victim.

Police also found a small amount of marijuana and meth in the cabin.

Porter suffered an arm laceration that required stitches and a broken elbow.

Porter was arrested on three counts of burglary to a dwelling, three counts of theft, possession of meth, possession of marijuana, and resisting arrest.