Justin Dittmer


The man accused of leading law enforcement on a chase in a stolen vehicle before barricading himself for hours in a local home remained in Platte County Jail Monday afternoon on a $500,000 bond.

Justin Dittmer, who was arrested on Dec. 3, was given a 10-percent bond option last week during a hearing with Platte County Court Judge Frank Skorupa, meaning he could be released by paying $50,000, according to Sgt. Dan Hickman of the holding facility.

The 35-year-old man was born in Columbus but is currently classified as homeless because he was living out of a vehicle at the time of his arrest, as previously reported by The Telegram.

Dittmer was arrested and charged with being in possession of stolen property, driving during revocation, fleeing in a motor vehicle to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, first-degree trespassing and being in possession of drug paraphernalia.

Columbus Police Department Capt. Todd Thalken on Monday told the Telegram that Dittmer is still a suspect in other current investigations and that additional charges are expected to be levied in the near future.

Officers at approximately 12:42 p.m. on Dec. 3 attempted to stop a white 2009 Chevrolet Impala believed to be stolen from Fremont, as previously reported by The Telegram. Thalken said the situation developed into a pursuit, causing the vehicle to skid off the road and crash in the area of Third Avenue and Air Vista Drive. Thalken said Dittmer fled the scene on foot along Third Avenue and allegedly broke into the home.

As a result, the street remained blocked off to incoming traffic and nearby residents were advised to remain indoors early Monday afternoon. Officers had the property surrounded and held their position with the assumption that the suspect was armed and dangerous.

Because of that assumption, released information from the department says that CPD requested the assistance of the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) SWAT team. A search warrant was obtained to enter the home and with the assistance of the NSP SWAT team, Dittmer was subsequently arrested, charged and taken to jail.

Dittmer is scheduled to appear for a hearing at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 19 in Platte County Court.

In Monday county court news:

*Isaac J. Zabala, 20, of Columbus was the lone case filed for Monday morning. The defendant was scheduled to appear before Skorupa for allegedly driving with no proof of insurance, a Class II misdemeanor, on Oct. 13 when he was cited by Columbus Police. Zabala failed to appear in court resulting in a bench warrant being issued. Bond was set at $2,500 with a 10-percent option.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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