Local News Headlines: January 16, 2021

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Indiana closes State House after FBI warnings

Governor Eric Holcomb has ordered the state government complex to be shut down this weekend, not to reopen until next Thursday due to fears of potential violence. Although there have been no credible threats made in the state of Indiana, Holcomb cited national concerns regarding violence, saying “[he has] decided to err on the side of caution and close the state government complex to the public.” Additionally, the State Senate and House have decided to close legislative activity for the entire week, although committees will resume working remotely.

Troopers Arrest Five Suspects on Child Solicitation Charges

Indiana State Police troopers from the Bloomington District concluded a lengthy investigation into reports of child solicitation, concluding with 5 arrests of individuals residing in four different counties across the state, on felony charges of child solicitation. The investigation began in early December when an Indiana State Trooper received information from a concerned citizen in Lawrence County about multiple adult males who had allegedly solicited an individual, who they believed to be a 15-year-old girl, to commit sexual acts with them. The detailed investigations included numerous search warrants and analysis of electronic communications between the suspects and victim.  Once the investigations were completed, they were reviewed by the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office and submitted to the Lawrence County Superior Court. On Thursday evening, Indiana State Police and the Bloomington District Aggressive Criminal Enforcement Section successfully served five arrest and search warrants simultaneously across the area. All five men were arrested without incident and were transported to the Lawrence County Jail.

Bloomington Resumes Enforcement of Restrictions in City Parks and Rights-of-Way

The City of Bloomington has issued a press release stating that the number of those spending the night in the park or the right-of-way has declined over the last five weeks, implying that that the reduction is directly related to outreach performed by city department representatives. Stating that “sleeping outside in the Bloomington winter can be dangerous,” and citing last month’s death of a homeless individual, the Mayor’s office announced “enforcement of the rules against overnight camping in City parks and in the right-of-way resumed Thursday, January 14 in order to protect the safety and health of these individuals and the community.” The City said they had suspended enforcement of the overnight camping ban in this area over the past five weeks in order to allow ample time for individuals to connect with the available safer alternatives.