A Leesburg man was behind bars Friday, accused of filling up his gas tank without paying, fleeing police, possessing meth and being a habitual traffic violator.
Brandon Stuart Alfano, 25, pumped about $40 worth of gas into a maroon Ford van at Katie’s Kwik Mart in Leesburg at 8:25 a.m. and then left without paying, according to the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department.
Off-duty Winona Lake police officer Joe Bumbaugh spotted the van within minutes on Armstrong Road near County Road 200 East.
Instead of stopping, police said, the van took off, turning into Oswego and then going south on Warsaw/Oswego Road. As Bumbaugh approached County Road 250 East, he saw that the van had turned around and was headed directly at his squad car, the sheriff’s department said.
The van then stopped, and Bumbaugh said he held the driver at gunpoint after seeing him pull what appeared to be a handgun from the center console. Alfano soon dropped the weapon, which turned out to be a pellet gun, police said.
After he was taken into custody, a sheriff’s sergeant reported finding that Alfano was carrying methamphetamine.
Alfano was being held on preliminary charges of theft, felony fleeing law enforcement with motor vehicle, possession of methamphetamine and operating a vehicle while determined to be a habitual traffic violator, according to the sheriff’s department.