MIDDLEBURY, Ind. (WOOD) – A convicted murderer may have burglarized an Indiana church Monday morning as he eluded police after escaping from a prison in Michigan Sunday night.
Michael Elliot was eventually arrested Monday evening in LaPorte, Ind.
After his escape from the Ionia Correctional Facility, police said he carjacked a woman in Ionia. She drove him to a gas station in Middlebury, Ind. where she was able to hide in the women’s restroom and call police late Sunday night.
Elliot then stole the woman’s vehicle and abandoned it in a parking lot in Shipshewana around 5:30 a.m. Monday. Hours later he stole an unlocked car in the parking lot of the Essenhaus restaurant in Middlebury, according to WNDU.
And now police may know what Elliot did between that gap of events.
The associate pastor of Crystal Valley Missionary Church, located across the street from Essenhaus, arrived at the church around 7 a.m. to clean up after a Super Bowl party from the night before, WNDU reports.
He thought he was the only person inside, as the building was dark. He started walking through the building and heard noises, and saw lights go on in an office.
The pastor checked several rooms and noticed some of the heating vents in the ceiling were pulled down, and tables were put beneath them, WNDU reports. Some chairs were arranged like clothing racks, and police think Elliot broke into the church to get warm from the cold weather, and dry some of his clothes.
Police speculate that Elliot was lying on a couch in the foyer, and that he and the pastor could have made eye contact.
The pastor did not call police until noticing a broken window, and glass on the floor next to the front door.
A jacket, a sheet, and two knives were missing from the church – items that police think Elliot stole.
There was also some blood, possibly Elliot’s, on the heating grates.
Police said Elliot stole a total of four vehicles before his capture. He is now in the LaPorte County Jail under high security on a $1 million bond. Michigan authorities are trying to get a governor’s warrant to speed up the extradition process. Elliot’s attorney said his client will fight extradition.
Elliot is serving five life sentences for four murders he committed in 1993.