LAKE COUNTY, Ind. (WLS) -- Three Illinois men are in custody following a high-speed chase and an auto theft blitz in Northwest Indiana Saturday.
Around 4 a.m., police said they began pursuing five stolen vehicles that were heading northbound on Interstate 65 through the Lowell area.
A Lake County officer patrolling the area near US-231 joined the pursuit after seeing several vehicles traveling at speeds upwards of 130 mph.
Lake County, Indiana Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. and several officers with the sheriff's department, Indiana State Patrol and three other jurisdictions assisted in the chase as well, police said.
An officer saw a man get out of an SUV and attempt to run away, disappearing between vehicles that were stopped in traffic near I-65 and U.S. 30, police said. The officer then spotted another car involved in the chase exit onto U.S. 30 and turn north on Colorado Street near Hobart.
A man then got out of the car in the 7300-block of Colorado, and ran in between houses.
Sheriff Martinez joined the officer in attempting to track the suspect. As many as five other Lake County Sheriff's Department officers, the Lake County Sheriff's Department Aviation Unit and three officers with the Indiana Police assisted as they endurd extremely cold temperatures in a densly wooded area, officials said.
They took the man into custody in the 6700-block of Colorado Street, retrieving a handgun and tools from a backpack inside the car, police said.
"This pursuit happened just hours after another incident where a 31-year-old man led police on a high-speed chase and slammed into two police squad vehicles," said Sheriff Martinez. "That case ended with shots fired and police eventually apprehending the suspect at 25th & Broadway in Gary. At the time, we were involved in a countywide blitz aimed at helping to end the rise in carjackings and car thefts in the area."
Three men from Illinois are in custody pending criminal charges.
"I have been monitoring the spike in armed carjackings in the Chicago and surrounding suburbs. The Lake County Sheriff's Department is committed to apprehending these dangerous suspects and bringing them to justice," Sheriff Martinez said.