Man jailed after trying to intimidate with Molotov cocktail

Photo courtesy Indiana State Police

From Local Sources

SANTA CLAUS —  A lengthy investigation today into numerous violent attempts to intimidate resulted in the arrest of a Santa Claus man, police said.

Police say that at 5:30 a.m. CDT, the homeowner at 335 South Melchoir Drive West, Christmas Lake Village, had left her home to take her husband to work, only to return home to find a bottle in her front yard with a burning wick extending from the opening. 

The homeowner immediately contacted Spencer County 911, who requested the assistance of the Indiana State Police and the ISP Emergency Ordinance Disposal Unit.

State Police Troopers and members of the EOD unit responded to the residence to find that the bottle was a Kahlua alcoholic beverage bottle containing gasoline and a t-shirt that was lit afire, assembled as a Molotov cocktail. 

The Molotov cocktail device was not properly deployed and therefore only caused burn damage to the lawn.

Through the investigation of the device, Master Trooper Trey Lytton learned that the Spencer County Sheriff’s Department had been at the residence around 1:00 a.m. CDT Friday morning. 


Deputies had responded to the complaint of an arrow being fired through a bedroom window.

Police say Lytton followed up on the early morning complaint, learning that both a male living at the residence, as well as the male’s girlfriend, had received threatening text messages, dating back to September 4, 2017 and including this morning.

Lytton found that the text messages had been sent by 21-year-old Eric Braun of Santa Claus, according to police. 

Police say Lytton learned that the vehicle Braun was known to drive matched the description of a vehicle that the homeowner on Melchoir Drive had seen driving away from her neighborhood prior to arriving home to find the Molotov cocktail.

At 12:11 p.m CDT, Lytton’s investigation led him to Braun’s home in Santa Claus, where police say he gained permission to search the property.  

Police say troopers allegedly found an empty bottle of Crabbie’s ginger beer on the ground with burnt residue on the bottle with a t-shirt lying next to it as a wick. 

Lytton believed the t-shirt to match the one found earlier in the morning on Melchoir Drive. 

Additionally, during the search of the residence and a subsequently executed search warrant on Braun’s Toyota Corolla marijuana and drug paraphernalia were allegedly found.

Photo courtesy Indiana State Police

Troopers also allegedly found arrows that matched the exact type fired through the bedroom window early Friday morning.

Braun was placed into custody without incident and transported to the Spencer County Jail.

He is being preliminarily charged with a Level 2 felony charge of possession, transporting and placing a destructive device to kill, injure or intimidate, a Level 5 felony charge of possession, transporting, placing a destructive device, a Level 5 felony charge of intimidation with a deadly weapon, a Level 6 felony charge of criminal recklessness, a Level 6 felony charge of maintaining a common nuisance and a Class B misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.

Assisting Agencies included the Santa Claus Police Department and Spencer County Sheriff’s Department.

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