Initially, Indiana troopers thought Joshua Lewis-Brown was a 20-year-old stranded motorist from New York in need of a tow after blowing a tire Friday afternoon on I-80 near Angola.
“Trooper (Craig) Woodcox was preparing to oblige Brown in his request, however the fictitious homemade paper license plate ‘DJ39RK’ handwritten in crayon on a grocery bag raised obvious suspicion and led to further investigation,” said Sgt. Brian Walker, an Indiana State Police spokesman.
After conducting a vehicle identification number check, Woodcox discovered Lewis-Brown’s Toyota Corolla had been reported stolen the day before out of State College, Pa., Walker said.
Troopers also found that Lewis-Brown had never been licensed to operate a motor vehicle in any state, and was on probation for grand larceny, the spokesman said.
Lewis-Brown was jailed on charges of possession of stolen property and operating without a license. He also faces charges in Pennsylvania.
Another trooper contacted Pennsylvania authorities and was told the Toyota was stolen when the owner left the engine running as he ran into a grocery store.