$190,000 heist results in prisonPublished 9:25am Saturday, April 27, 2013
CASSOPOLIS — Prosecutor Victor Fitz called it one of the largest heists he could recall in 30 years of prosecution.
Joseph Rodick, 33, was one of three people involved in stealing more than $190,000 in cash and items from an Edwardsburg business in July of 2012. The theft included the life savings of the business owner — more than $180,000 in cash.
Judge Michael Dodge sentenced Rodick to a minimum of 3 1/2 years in prison Friday in Cass County Circuit Court.
Prior to sentencing, Rodick told the judge he had messed up his life, but Dodge reminded Rodick that he had also messed up the lives of the victims.
The cash was never recovered as Rodick and his co-defendants spent the money on a car, house, tattoos and other items.
The owner of Village Automatics — the business that was broken into — said he and his wife had been accumulating their life savings for more than 20 years.
“It is going to force us to extend our working careers,” he told the court.
Rodick, a former Village Automatics employee, told his co-defendants the business owner kept a jar full of money on the property. When co-defendants broke into the business they found the jar of money and a safe containing more than $180,000 — the owner’s life savings.
Several guns, computers and other items were also taken, totaling $194,861.38 in stolen cash and property.
The business owner said he treated Rodick well, going so far as to provide him furniture for his home.
Defense attorney Paul Jancha told the court his client’s role was limited to telling co-defendants about the jar of money.
“When you get involved with other thieves and you commit acts like this you have to be accountable for your own decisions,” Dodge said.
Rodick, of South Bend, Ind., receives credit for 12 days served.
He was ordered to pay $194,861.38 in restitution.