Police burglary ring broken up

By Darnell J. Compton of The News-Sentinel

One of Fort Wayne's most infamous scandals took place 41 years ago among the rank and file officers of the Fort Wayne Police Department.

Eight officers admitted being involved in 75 burglaries committed over a three-year period.

Details emerged in June 1958 after Police Chief Mitchell Cleveland received a phone tip that a stolen car was in Officer Carl John Pequignot's driveway.

After a grand jury investigation, Pequignot confessed that he took the car from Rice Auto Agency. He also admitted to a series of burglaries.

"We found it was quite deep in the department," Glen Beams, who was Allen County prosecutor at the time, said.

"The younger officers just went along with the older officers in the squad cars. During the night hours they would burglarize these places, and no one could figure out how this happened."

Second-degree burglary charges were filed against Officers Pequignot, William R. Bollman, Ronald M. Lapp Jr., Donald G. Schoenherr, William C. Phillips, Glen G. Kantzer, William Link and Robert R. Hosford. All were found guilty and each served a 2-to-5-year sentence.

The grand jury also indicted businessman James B. Joyner for receiving stolen goods and perjury.

"It was quite a cancer on the police department," Beams said. "I think it was a big cancer and it was cut out. The police department improved after that.

"Some of those people, while they were in the department, they were respected people," Beams said. "The public was pleased it was cleaned up."

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