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updated: 6/28/2013 2:24 PM

Tire bandit gets 5 years for Naperville theft

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  • Joshua Griffith

      Joshua Griffith

 

A Chicago man suspected in a tri-state tire-theft spree was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for hitting a Naperville car dealership last year.

Joshua Griffith, 36, pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen motor vehicle or parts essential to a motor vehicle and was sentenced by DuPage County Judge George Bakalis.

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Griffith took eight tires from vehicles at Toyota of Naperville, 1488 W. Ogden Ave., early June 15, 2012, prosecutors said. Afterward, Naperville police alerted other law enforcement agencies and learned of similar thefts in Wisconsin, where investigators had identified a suspect vehicle and license plate.

Naperville police obtained a warrant to put a tracking device on the vehicle, which turned out to be Griffith's, and determined he was making trips to Indiana and Wisconsin, Assistant State's Attorney Tom Vega said in court.

On Sept. 20, Vega said, Griffith was under police surveillance when he drove to a Wisconsin car dealership and returned with his vehicle full of wheels and tires. He said police arrested Griffith at his home, where they found a vehicle reported stolen in Bensenville and proceeds from several dealership thefts.

Vega said Griffith admitted taking the parts and selling them online. Authorities previously estimated their value at $30,000 to $40,000.

Griffith has been in the county jail since his arrest and must serve at least 2 years before he's eligible for parole. Authorities said he also faces charges in McHenry County and Wisconsin. An investigation in Indiana is ongoing.

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