Man charged with unlawful driving of vehicle after taking woman’s car

NILES — A man who took possession of a woman’s vehicle and left it on the side of an Indiana roadway with no gas will serve time in jail for committing the crime.

Edward Carl Soyk, 26, of State Street in Niles, pleaded guilty Sept. 26 to unlawfully driving a vehicle. Judge Charles LaSata sentenced Soyk Monday in Berrien County Trial Court. He was ordered to serve 180 days in jail with credit for 77 days served. He was also ordered to pay $1,193 in restitution to the victim’s insurance company and a total of $2,161 in fines and costs.

The crime occurred on March 18 when Soyk took possession of a vehicle that was parked in a housing complex on Woods Edge Drive in Niles. Soyk drove the vehicle to Indiana. When he ran out of gas, he left it on the side of the road where it was discovered on March 19.

Edward Carl Soyk

Prior to Soyk’s sentencing a victim spoke up to tell Soyk and the court how the crime had caused significant burden to her life. The victim explained that she has a job taking care of people for a living. When she went to go to work on March 18 and her car was gone, she was forced to walk to her job, which made her late to care for her patient. Outside of work, she said her grandchildren and daughter depend on her to help out.

“You really put me in a bind, Edward” she said. “I was very upset about that. The only thing I have to say is get your life together.”

The victim did not claim any damage to the vehicle and her insurance reimbursed her for $1,193. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jerry Vigansky said the funds covered gas and the cost to make new key copies.

Soyk was represented in court by Defense Attorney Scott Sanford. Sanford said his client had been continuously incarcerated since March for different crimes. Soyk also served seven months in an Indiana corrections facility. Because of this situation, Sanford said his imprisonment accounted for any probation violation he might have in a different county.

When given the opportunity to speak for himself, Soyk apologized. 

“I would like to say I’m sorry,” he said. “I was on drugs at the time. I know that doesn’t change anything.”

Soyk also told the court that he had intended to bring the victim’s car back. 

LaSata said he questioned Soyk’s life choices.

“When aren’t you on drugs, Mr. Soyk?” LaSata said. “That’s pretty how much how you roll.”

LaSata said he felt the community was safest when Soyk was locked up. He cited the other charges that Soyk had accrued in St. Joseph County, Indiana, Kalamazoo County and Berrien County.

“We will know when you’re jail, there are less problems you could cause out among the working and producing people,” LaSata said.

Prior to Soyk’s sentencing a victim spoke up to tell Soyk and the court how the crime had caused significant burden to her life. The victim explained that she has a job taking care of people for a living. When she went to go to work on March 18 and her car was gone, she was forced to walk to her job, which made her late to care for her patient. Outside of work, she said her grandchildren and daughter depend on her to help out.

“You really put me in a bind, Edward” she said. “I was very upset about that. The only thing I have to say is get your life together.”

The victim did not claim any damage to the vehicle and her insurance reimbursed her for $1,193. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jerry Vigansky said the funds covered gas and the cost to make new key copies.

Soyk was represented in court by Defense Attorney Scott Sanford. Sanford said his client had been continuously incarcerated since March for different crimes. Soyk also served seven months in an Indiana corrections facility. Because of this situation, Sanford said his imprisonment accounted for any probation violation he might have in a different county.

When given the opportunity to speak for himself, Soyk apologized. 

“I would like to say I’m sorry,” he said. “I was on drugs at the time. I know that doesn’t change anything.”

Soyk also told the court that he had intended to bring the victim’s car back. 

LaSata said he questioned Soyk’s life choices.

“When aren’t you on drugs, Mr. Soyk?” LaSata said. “That’s pretty how much how you roll.”

LaSata said he felt the community was safest when Soyk was locked up. He cited the other charges that Soyk had accrued in St. Joseph County, Indiana, Kalamazoo County and Berrien County.

“We will know when you’re jail, there are less problems you could cause out among the working and producing people,” LaSata said.

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