Peru, IN - A routine traffic stop in Peru led to the arrest of Stephanie Robinette, 37 of Peru on a charge of Possession of Methamphetamine and Stephen Baber, 29 of Peru on a charge of Possession of Paraphernalia on Sunday, January 27, 2019, at approximately 9:03 p.m. The arrest took place in the Taco Bell Parking lot on North Broadway Street.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed by Peru Police Officer Brok Westfall, he observed a goldish in color passenger vehicle was observed traveling south on Broadway near Roxy Lane cross the center line with both driver’s side tires near the Dairy Queen restaurant. Officer Westfall continued to follow the vehicle and noticed that the driver’s side brake light was also not working. Officer Westfall then activated his emergency lights to conduct a traffic stop as the vehicle turned into the Taco Bell parking lot.
After several seconds of slowly driving through the parking lot, the vehicle came to a stop. Officer Westfall then approached the female driver who was identified as thirty-seven-year-old Stephanie Robinette of Peru.
While Officer Westfall was running Ms. Robinette’s license, he observed her and the passenger, identified as twenty-nine-year-old Stephen Baber of Peru making suspicious movements inside the vehicle. Officer Westfall returned to the vehicle and asked them to stop moving around. Once back at his vehicle, they continued to make these suspicious movements inside the vehicle.
At this point, PPD Sergeant Raber arrived on the scene with her K9 partner Fargo. Sergeant Raber utilized her K9 to conduct a “free air sniff” around the vehicle with the dog’s change of behavior indicating the possible presence of drugs inside the suspect vehicle.
Officer Westfall conducted a search of Mr. Baber while Sergeant Raber searched Ms. Robinette. Nothing was found on either subject during the initial search.
A search of the vehicle would produce a syringe cap on the passenger side floorboard and a dime size plastic bag shoved in the center console area.
During the search, a cell phone in the car kept getting notifications and lighting up. Officers were able to see that the messages appeared to be in reference to drug transactions. The messages stated that the owner of the phone was getting a half and was on their way back. The phone was identified as belonging to Ms. Robinette. Ms. Robinette advised that people know her boyfriend in Indianapolis has connections to drugs and they ask her to bring some back. She stated that she only tells people that she is getting some so they will leave her alone, but she doesn’t actually bring them any drugs.
At this point, both Ms. Robinette and Mr. Baber were placed in handcuffs and placed in the back seat of police separate police vehicles.
Officers then resumed their search of the suspect vehicle. At this point, Sergeant Raber’s K9 partner kept barking and Ms. Robinette kept moving around inside Sergeant Raber’s Police vehicle. Sergeant Raber returned to her vehicle and Ms. Robinette freely informed her that Mr. Baber had something hidden on his person and she could not go to jail.
Officer Westfall then conducted a second search of Mr. Baber. This second search produced two syringes and a spoon wrapped in a plastic bag. The bowl portion of the spoon would later field test positive for heroin. Stephen advised that Ms. Robinette had tossed the items in his lap once Officer Westfall activated his emergency lights to conduct the traffic stop.
Both Suspects were then transported to the Miami County Jail. Upon arrival at the jail, Sergeant Raber advised that she searched the rear passenger seat of her police vehicle and located a clear plastic bag that contained a white crystal substance that would later test positive as methamphetamine and weighed approximately one gram. Sergeant Raber stated that she had cleaned her car out and checked the passenger seat area at the beginning of the shift.
Stephanie Robinette, 37 of Peru faces a charge of Possession of Methamphetamine.
Stephen Baber, 29 of Peru faces a charge of Possession of Paraphernalia.
All criminal suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.