IMPD unit tracks down hundreds of wanted offenders
An elite IMPD team is working around the clock tracking suspects who are threatening Indianapolis neighborhoods.
A quiet knock on the door has been the answer to getting some of Indy's most wanted off the streets. Officer Robert Wendling heads up the Suspect Tracking Unit in IMPD's Northwest District, where they try to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.
"We try, before we go after these people, is to kind of get in their head to get an understanding of their psychology as much as you can," Wendling said.
Especially when it comes to dangerous situations, like in the search for Myron Hamilton, who was wanted for questioning and known for being armed. After getting the 20-year-old Hamilton handcuffed, they found a handgun on him, which he claimed he can legally carry.
"We will take him back there to talk to the detective and on the way, we will verify that he has a gun permit and, if not, then we will have to deal with that," Wendling said.
After questioning, police arrested Hamilton for burglary and carrying a handgun without a license.
But sometimes, finding wanted people puts officers' patience to the test, requiring surveillance for several days, watching their every move to learn their habits.
The tracking unit also sought Veronica Roach, who was wanted for questioning in a horrific beating.
"She bludgeoned someone with a hammer," Wendling said.
A detective wanted to talk to Roach about the beating that hospitalized another woman, who was dating an ex-boyfriend. Tracking officers decided to spy on Roach's house, but their timing couldn't have been better - she was leaving home when they arrived.
"Veronica, we are with IMPD Northwest and there is a detective there that needs to talk to you," an officer said.
Even after the tracking unit officers deliver people wanted for questioning for crimes to Northwest District interview rooms, there's little break time.
"As soon as we get done with one, it's a few minutes of celebration or whatever and then we head right back out with the next one," Wendling said.
A conversation with theft suspect Lenon Jacks' girlfriend helped officers learn his whereabouts. Later, while doing surveillance on the house, the 38-year-old returned home. But when Wendling knocked on the front door a second time, Jacks made a beeline for the side door.
After questioning, the detective arrested Jacks on theft charges.
Over the last two years, the team has tracked down more than 730 people wanted by police. Their captures include murderers, armed robbery suspects, child molesters and burglars.