Chesterton man wrongfully accused of selling heroin

Leah Hope Image
ByLeah Hope via WLS logo
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
EMBED <>More Videos

A northwest Indiana man says his life was turned upside down when we was arrested in a case of mistaken identity.

VALPARAISO, Ind. (WLS) -- Wrongfully accused and thrown in jail: A northwest Indiana man says his life was turned upside down when he was arrested in a case of mistaken identity.

Steven Thompson was arrested at his home in Chesterton, Ind. last month. He's now fighting to recover what he lost after he was falsely accused of a serious crime.

The director of the Porter County Drug Task Force says they have a serious drug problem here, and last month, they thought they were taking a drug dealer off the streets. Instead, they were putting an innocent man behind bars.

Thompson helps his mom around house, as he now has the time. The single father had a steady job until recently.

"Just gone in a matter of minutes, you know, as soon as they put the hand cuffs on," said Thompson.

Thompson was arrested for allegedly selling heroin on May 5, but the Porter County Drug Task Force got the warrant for the wrong guy. Thompson spent 10 days in the Porter County Jail.

"It's horrible. I'm sitting in a cell that has two beds and there's three people in there," said Thompson.

Each day, Thompson hoped the error would be discovered and his name to be cleared.

"Something's got to catch, I mean, they really, they gotta know that by now, this is an innocent person sitting there," said Thompson.

"We made a mistake on this one," said Bob Taylor, Porter County Drug Task Force.

Taylor said an informant identified the wrong Steven Thompson.

"They looked similar to one another but not identical. The informant gave him the wrong information," said Taylor.

Bob Taylor apologized to Thompson and even called Thompson's former employer to plea for Thompson be rehired. Thompson got out of jail to find his employer heard about the arrest and he was fired.

"He was arrested in front of the family, he did nothing wrong. And I'm extremely sorry for it," said Taylor.

"So it's not even just on me, now it's affecting my kids, and everything else. I'm like, when does it stop?" said Thompson.

Thompson says there is the cost of bail that his family put up, as well as money he has borrowed from friends to pay his bills while he hasn't been working, and of course the emotional cost to him and his girls.

Taylor says the task force will be making some changes so that this doesn't happen to anyone else. As for the other Steven Thompson - he's still on the street.