Suspect In Kidnapping, Carjacking Facing Additional Charges
Newtown Police Detectives served an arrest warrant with nine serious charges on April 27 to Christopher Lemke, 33, of Bethel, in regards to a kidnapping and home invasion incident from April 14.
The warrant is in addition to charges already filed against Lemke by Connecticut State Police. He is currently being held at a state correctional facility on $1 million bond. He has a number of cases against him awaiting for him to enter plea, with his next court dates being May 17 in Danbury Superior Court and May 25 in Waterbury Superior Court.
The Newtown arrest warrant served last week charged him additionally with home invasion, first-degree kidnapping while in possession of a firearm, first-degree burglary with a deadly weapon, first-degree robbery, first-degree larceny, criminal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle, carrying a dangerous weapon, and possession with intent to sell narcotics.
The mid-April incident involving Lemke developed as Danbury Police along with Western Connecticut Regional SWAT officers were accompanying Newtown officers April 14 preparing to execute a search and seizure warrant at a local residence. Lemke apparently became aware of the police presence and escaped from the scene on foot before the warrant was served.
Police reported that Lemke fled through the woods and made it to a neighborhood north of Mt Pleasant Road near its intersection with Blackman Road before breaking into the unlocked residence. At the same time, police K-9 units that were reportedly training Thursday morning at 3 Main Street — the former police station headquarters — responded to the scene to assist in the search.
Once inside the residence, police say Lemke kidnapped an individual inside at gunpoint and fled in a stolen white BMW. Luckily, the victim was able to escape from the vehicle a short distance away.
Police report that individual was not physically injured. Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps responded to the residence to provide assistance and support.
Officers were able to transmit the suspect and vehicle information out quickly and the BMW was located by Connecticut State Police (CSP) traveling on I-84 East near the Rochambeau Bridge. After a brief chase, police say the vehicle crashed near Exit 15 in Southbury and Lemke was apprehended.
Newtown Police Chief David Kullgren said there “were several different agencies involved in this incident, and everyone involved did a great job of coordination and communication.
“Officers on scene were able to get vital information to dispatch who then relayed it to partner agencies allowing for the swift apprehension of the suspect. The detectives then completed a thorough investigation and built a solid case. Everyone worked together on this and really did a great job,” Kullgren added.
Previously, Lemke was charged by state police for the incident with criminal possession of a pistol or revolver, stealing a firearm, illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle, possession with intent to sell of a narcotic, use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd-degree reckless endangerment, engaging police in pursuit, and reckless driving.
Lemke is also being investigated in a missing persons case, for Carlos Reyes, 20, of Danbury, who was last seen in March.
Long Criminal History
According to the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch website, Lemke has a litany of pending cases against him for offenses occurring between September 13, 2021, and January 14 of this year.
On September 13, he was arrested and charged with 4th-degree larceny. Then on September 29, Lemke was arrested and charged with use of drug paraphernalia, first-degree possession of a controlled substance; failure to drive right, reckless driving, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and evading arrest.
On October 28, he was arrested and charged with interfering with an officer, reckless driving, and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.
Two months later, on December 20, he was arrested for use of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.
On January 14, he was arrested and charged with attempt at second-degree assault, four counts of third-degree assault, 2nd-degree threatening, third-degree criminal mischief, 4th-degree larceny, 2nd-degree robbery, assault of safety or EMT personnel, illegal possession of a shoplifting device, interfering with an officer, and possession of a controlled substance.
Lemke has plead not guilty to all charges in all incidents, and is awaiting further court date assignments.
Additionally, Lemke has been convicted on charges stemming from a number of arrests in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017.
In May 2013, Lemke was arrested for carrying a pistol without a permit, 2nd-degree threatening, and violation of probation. He was sentenced to a total of four years and six months of prison time on the three charges, but the sentence was suspended after six months with three years probation.
In December 2014, Lemke was charged with illegal operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He was sentenced to six months in jail.
In February 2015, court records show Lemke was found guilty of violation of probation and sentenced several weeks later to 15 months in jail. He was apprehended by Wilton Police on that warrant out of New Milford after a vehicle he was riding in struck the side mirror of a school bus on Sharp Hill Road in that town and officers responded locating him.
In May 2017, he was arrested for disorderly conduct, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail with a suspended execution of the sentence and a conditional discharge for one year.
Additionally, a police report from September 2021 out of Bethel lists an individual with the same name being involved in a hit-and-run incident, after which the vehicle involved was located disabled at a Danbury railroad crossing. Following an investigation, DUI and narcotics charges were leveled along with numerous motor vehicle offenses.
According to several news reports, Lemke’s available history of violence first began in February 2005 when, as a 16-year-old, he and Alexander Bass, 17, faced charges of conspiracy to commit second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary in New Milford.
In that case, reports state the pair called a Chinese restaurant and asked to have a delivery made to the Bel Air Condominiums on Route 202. When the victim went to deliver the order, they attacked him from behind with a hammer, according to court records.
The delivery man was taken to New Milford Hospital by ambulance and required about eight staples to close the wound, police said at the time.
Associate Editor Jim Taylor can be reached at email@example.com.