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On August 6, 2018, Thomas J. Mosier, 47, was sentenced to 23 years in the Indiana Department of Correction for his role in a January 15, 2018, incident that spanned 12 hours and required the use of multiple agencies, officers, and SWAT teams.

On January 15, 2018, Sgt. Nathan Lanzen, Elkhart Police Department, was investigating a suspicious vehicle at Howard’s Auto Sales in Elkhart, Indiana. As snow was falling heavily, Sgt. Lanzen followed the fresh tire tracks and located a vehicle now at USA 1 Auto Sales in Elkhart. Sgt. Lanzen observed a white male, later identified as Thomas J. Mosier, rummaging around behind the building of the property. Mosier jumped into the passenger side of a Subaru passenger car that sped off, heading northbound on Nappanee Street. Sgt. Lanzen initiated his lights and sirens and gave chase to the fleeing Subaru. As Sgt. Lanzen was pursuing, Mosier leaned out the passenger side and shot multiple rounds with an SKS rifle toward Sgt. Lanzen, striking his squad car. At sentencing, Sgt. Lanzen testified that one round struck his squad car just above the headlight and further explained that with the style of rifle used by Mosier, had he been able to shoot through the windshield, the bullet would have “gone through my vest and killed me.”

The pursuit continued into Michigan where Cass County Sheriff’s Department officers took over. The Subaru was lost; however, it subsequently crashed and Mosier and the driver, later identified as Lee A. Underwood, fled on foot. While out on foot and attempting to evade law enforcement, Mosier and Underwood are alleged to have broken into a barn in Cass County, Michigan, stealing a handgun from inside a vehicle. The two then went to a neighboring property where they are alleged to have stolen a Ford F250 and travelled back to Elkhart. Mosier was alleged to have been driving the F250 with Underwood in the passenger seat. A Michigan State Police Officer spotted the pair and when he attempted to initiate a traffic stop, Mosier, once again, is alleged to have fled. The pursuit traveled back into Elkhart County where Cpl. Dustin Voss, Elkhart Police Department, spotted the F250 and began pursuing as well. The pursuit went through Middlebury and ended on the south side of Goshen where the F250 was found crashed. Officers followed footprints from the crash and later learned that Mosier and Underwood had attempted to break into a home near C.R. 42 and C.R. 15. The homeowner obtained his rifle and told Mosier and Underwood to leave. Mosier and Underwood continued fleeing and were later found at a residence on C.R. 15. Underwood got into an unlocked truck and refused to exit. Officers with the Elkhart Sheriff’s Department were able to remove him without incident after utilizing defensive tactics.

Mosier was found holed up in a barn on the property. He was in possession of the stolen handgun from Michigan and shot off at least two rounds while in the barn. The standoff lasted approximately seven hours in 15 degree weather and required the use of SWAT teams from Elkhart Police Department, Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, and Goshen Police Department. Mosier eventually surrendered and was taken into custody.

Mosier was charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon, a Level 4 felony; Burglary, a Level 5 felony; Criminal Recklessness with a Deadly Weapon, a Level 6 felony; Resisting Law Enforcement with a Vehicle, a Level 6 felony; and Residential Entry, a Level 6 felony. The State allowed Mosier to plead guilty under an agreement that required him to plead to all charges with both sides to argue for the appropriate sentence, and the 2 ½ year sentence available for the Resisting Law Enforcement charge to be served concurrently, or at the same time, as the other charges. The maximum possible prison/jail sentence for the charges in Indiana was 25 ½ years.

At sentencing, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Leslie Shively argued for the maximum sentence citing his extensive criminal history and the danger posed to the police and citizens of Elkhart County. Judge Stephen R. Bowers stated that Mosier was “a career criminal,” noting his eight previous felony convictions out of Michigan and Texas that included Aggravated Robbery, Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm, Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, Maintaining a Drug House, Retaliating Against Witnesses, and Retail Fraud. Despite Mosier’s statements that he “loves the police and firefighters,” Judge Bowers was not convinced. Mosier was sentenced to 23 years in the Indiana Department of Correction, the maximum amount under his plea, and is also facing charges in Michigan stemming from this escapade.


“Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”