LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Police have arrested a southern Indiana man accused of impersonating an officer and participating in a burglary.
Travis Luedeman, 40, was arrested Saturday at his home in Norman, which is in Jackson County.
According to police, a police deputy responded to the 4000 block of North CR 1250 W in Norman on Friday morning on a burglary in progress. An area resident reported seeing a suspicious vehicle on his neighbor's property, and he went to check it out.
As the resident approached the vehicle, a man came from the back of the home. The resident attempted to keep Luedeman from leaving the scene until police arrived, however, Luedeman pointed a gun at the resident and left the area.
The resident then followed the vehicle a short distance when Luedeman got out and ran away. The vehicle was recovered by a police officer and found to have been stolen from Seymour, Ind.
Later Friday, another resident called police to report a similar suspicious man had been on his family property in the same area the day before. The man told deputies that Luedeman was wearing a military-style uniform with a badge, gun and cowboy-style hat. Luedeman told the resident that he was a police officer and said he had permission to be on the property.
"He was possessing a gun and threatened to shoot him if he didn't let him leave," Sheriff Rick Meyer said.
Luedeman left, and the property's owner discovered that some items were missing.
"It's scary with someone pointing a gun at you," Meyer said. "We're just lucky nothing bad happened in either one of the incidents."
Meyer said deputies provided a picture line-up of potential suspects, and Luedeman was identified as the suspicious man on the property. Deputies are familiar with Luedeman. He is a registered sex offender and has been charged in multiple theft and burglary cases in the past.
Meyer said deputies went out to his home Friday evening. He was not there, but deputies found several stolen items from the two recent burglaries and other items they believe could be from unsolved or unreported burglary cases.
"We got pictures," Meyer said. "So we're still hoping we get some information and people may call in and let us know they're missing something."
They also found lists of names and addresses of other residents.
Meyer's second and third in command at the Sheriff's Department went back to Luedeman's home close to 2 a.m. Saturday to see if he came back. They saw Luedeman through the front window asleep on the couch. When deputies knocked, he ran to the back of the house and refused to come out. During the four-hour long standoff, deputies obtained an arrest warrant and Indiana State Police SWAT was called to the scene. As SWAT arrived, Meyer said, Luedeman surrendered peacefully.
Meyer said he was proud of the deputies for going back on their own time and putting in the extra effort needed to crack the case.
"The people on the western part of the county, where this took place, feel a lot safer with him in jail," Meyer said.
Luedeman is being held in the Jackson County Jail. A judge will need to set his bond.
Meyer said he can never recommend citizens take the law into their own hands, but he's thankful the first resident took the risk.
"Without his help and following the vehicle, we wouldn't have been able to identify the suspect," he said. "We're a small community, and sometimes people out in the county like to take matters upon themselves. And luckily, nothing bad happened here."
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