Man gets 18 months for theft of tire rims

Thurmont resident sold items to Pa. scrap yard

April 29, 1999|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A Frederick County man convicted of stealing $5,000 worth of used tire rims in Carroll County last year received an 18-month jail sentence yesterday.

Steven Eugene Grimes, 24, who lives with his ailing mother in Thurmont, could have received up to the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, given his prior record, said Assistant State's Attorney Brian L. DeLeonardo.

But Carroll Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold decided "to take a chance" on Grimes, and recommended that he be granted work release.

A Carroll County jury convicted Grimes after a two-day trial in March on one count of felony theft for stealing 50 tire rims, and deadlocked on a similar charge involving 75 rims valued at $7,500.

According to the testimony, employees at Chaz's Auto Parts in the 6000 block of Taneytown Pike discovered the theft Feb. 10 of 75 tire rims, salvaged from wrecked cars and worth about $100 apiece, DeLeonardo said.

A state police check of area scrap dealers found a large load had been sold to Wagamon's Scrap Yard in Gettysburg, Pa., he said. On Feb. 11, Chaz's was hit again and 50 rims were found missing.

Having been contacted by the police, the Gettysburg scrap yard refused to buy from Grimes on Feb. 12, and employees identified Grimes, the prosecutor said. Chaz's employees went to Gettysburg and found their identification markers on two rims.

The jury convicted Grimes of felony theft in the second incident.

Grimes' criminal record, outlined at sentencing yesterday, included a 1991 conviction for criminal mischief, breaking and entering, five theft convictions, and fourth-degree sexual offenses in Maryland and Pennsylvania in 1993 and 1994.

He begged the judge, however, to let him keep working for a Frederick tent-rental company, where he earns $10 an hour -- an improvement over scrounging for scrap.

Pub Date: 4/29/99

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