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Four Men Charged After Holding Indiana Woman Hostage For Hours In Attempt To Get Her Stimulus Check

Lake County Jail

The economic downturn prompted by the virus has impacted most members of society, hitting already-marginalized and low income folks the hardest.

In order to mitigate the impact, Congress appropriated funds and passed legislation to provide economic stimulus checks to some taxpayers.


At 5:51am on Sunday, April 19, a Lake Station, Indiana resident arrived at the headquarters of the Lake Station Police Department. There, she explained the hellish four hours she had just experienced.

She had been awake since 1:30am, when the sounds of four men breaking into her home snapped her out of sleep, NBC News reports.

One of the four grabbed her phone immediately so she wasn't able to call 911. Another had a gun.

The victim went on to inform police that she knew all four of the men, three of whom are also Lake Station residents. The other man is from Hobart, Indiana, the next town over.

She reported that all four of the men knew she received her stimulus check from the federal government, the one time sum sent out en masse to curb the various negative economic impacts Americans have faced since the virus brought most U.S. commerce to a halt.

She claimed the men were there to rob her.

4 men allegedly held Indiana woman captive for hours to steal her stimulus check youtu.be

The hostage-takers, Paul Blankenship, Phillip Guzman Jacob Baughman and Christopher Henderson have all been charged with multiple crimes since the incident.

NBC News reports that, according to court records, all four have been charged with burglary with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon, burglary of a dwelling and residential break and enter.

When the story made the rounds on Facebook, people were appalled, though for different reasons than one would expect.

Moral outrage was not the primary emotion in the comments. Instead, people criticized strategic elements of the very imperfect crime.

Spencer Felix/Facebook


Heather Stinson/Facebook

Others took the opportunity to connect the incident to the broader context of public safety.

Shannon Huffman/Facebook


Jerry Luttrell/Facebook

As American life continues to be frozen, with most non-essential workers across the country still either working from home or laid off entirely, economic struggles will become more pronounced as time passes.

One can only hope that incidents like this do not become familiar stories.