Archived Story

Scrap metal thief gets 23 months

Published 7:31pm Sunday, July 22, 2012

An Osceola, Ind., man described by Prosecutor Victor Fitz as being “a thief since he was knee high to a grasshopper” is headed to prison.

Derak Williams, 31, was sentenced Friday in Cass County Circuit Court to 23 months in the Michigan Department of Corrections for selling nearly 3,000 pounds of stolen scrap metal.

Fitz told the court Williams has 11 theft-related convictions spanning the counties of St. Joseph (Ind.), Berrien and Cass.

“He is scrapping metal all over the place,” Fitz said. “We are hoping to send a message to him and the public that this type of rape of our citizen’s property will not be tolerated.”

Court documents read by Judge Michael Dodge reveal Williams stole several engine blocks from Holt’s Auto Parts on Terminal Road in Niles in January. A surveillance camera later identified Williams turning in for scrap 240 pounds of sheet iron and 2,620 pounds of engine blocks. Some of those engine blocks, Dodge said, were identified as belonging to Holt’s Auto Parts.

Fitz said Williams excused his actions as a means to make money to feed his son.

Sentence guidelines were nine to 23 months. Dodge cited Williams’ extensive past criminal record as reason for sentencing him at the high range of the guidelines.

Williams was also sentenced Friday to 23 months in prison for being in possession of brass knuckles and 18 months for conspiracy to steal stereo equipment from an automobile awaiting service at Dowagiac Auto Body.

Williams will serve each sentence consecutively. He is credited for 121 days served.

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