Police: Thieves traded stolen items for drugs

NEW PALESTINE — Two homeless people face felony charges after sneaking into a local high school after hours, stealing computer equipment and trading it for drugs, police said.

Codey Martin, 22, and Samantha Cravens, 18, were arrested in connection with recent thefts from New Palestine High School, police said.

The two are charged with theft, possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of a syringe, records show.

The suspects were caught on video going into the high school after school Monday when doors are normally left unlocked for afterschool events.

Video footage shows them walking through the school, searching for items to take;

they rifled through unsupervised property, including student backpacks, before finding one with an iPad and school-issued laptop, police said. The latter was exchanged or sold for heroin, the pair told investigators, police said.

The couple was then seen leaving the school with the backpack, officials from the New Palestine Police Department said.

Administrators reviewed the tapes alongside police but were unable to provide any leads.

“School officials didn’t recognize them as any of their students, family members or parents,” Police Chief Bob Ehle said.

Wednesday, school administrators near the school corporation building, 4711 S. County Road 500W, recognized the two from the video they had seen. The pair was spotted walking north on County Road 500W. Police were called and the pair was found near the intersection with Meadow Drive and taken into custody, police said.

The police had a screen shot from the day of the theft and were able to use it to identify the suspects before stopping Martin, who is originally from the Shelby County area, and Cravens of Indianapolis.

“It was definitely them,” Ehle said.

The suspects were taken to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, where they were interviewed and admitted to the crime, police said.

Police were able to recover the backpack and iPad, but the school computer was traded for heroin, police said.

The suspects told police they are homeless and had been recently living underneath the bridge just south of the Hancock County line on Gem Road.

Both have pending charges from other cases in the county and Indianapolis, which could affect their sentencing should they be found guilty here, authorities said.

Police are also investigating whether the pair is connected to a rash of car break-ins and thefts in the New Palestine area during the past two weeks.

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Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or kdeer@greenfieldreporter.com.