Convicted thief Sam Schmucker is behind bars, but his case has pointed up holes in Marion County’s criminal justice system, the Indianapolis Star says. Authorities went to his mother’s house to arrest him for not showing up for a hearing, but at the time he was in a state correctional facility at Greencastle.
Schmucker, 26, of Indianapolis, was arrested June 13 and charged with theft. That sent him back to state prison because the arrest violated terms of his 1999 probation on an auto theft conviction.
When Schmucker didn’t show up in court July 28 to answer to the shoplifting offense, his name ended up as one of an estimated 21,600 people wanted on warrants. Officers went to his home on Aug. 1 to arrest him, and his mother told them Schmucker was already in custody, she said. Police went to the Schmuckers’ home again, on Aug. 17, and again they were told he was in state custody.
Jack Geilker of the Marion County Justice Agency’s Failure to Appear Office, says Schmucker’s name was finally taken off the wanted list Monday after it was brought to his attention. He blamed the mix-up on computer files that don’t reflect when a wanted subject is held in state custody. It appeared that at one point this summer two courts held jurisdiction in the theft and shoplifting cases and neither court knew about the other court’s case.
“There needs to be a more interactive system of government so the right hand knows what the left hand is doing,” said Schmucker’s mother, Denise.
Superior Court Judge Cale Bradford, the presiding judge for Marion County, said, “There does seem to have been an information gap.” Officials are counting on an upgraded computer system to help close the information gap between courts.