There were six new felony charges filed Monday against a Dittmer man who committed a rash of car thefts last year, was incarcerated, and continued the spree once he was freed.
The charges against Steven D. Stotts, 36, date back to crimes that occurred in September 2017. He is charged in Franklin County Associate Circuit Court with three counts of stealing a motor vehicle, two counts of first-degree property damage and second-degree burglary.
Those charges are in addition to charges of felony stealing a motor vehicle, second-degree trespassing and misdemeanor stealing filed by the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office April 27.
Stotts was handed five years’ probation May 16 for multiple felony charges in Jefferson County. He was released from 120 days’ shock time in the Missouri Department of Corrections and booked in the Franklin County Jail May 19.
Authorities suspect Stotts was feeding a drug habit while committing a rash of burglaries and vehicle thefts from July through September in Franklin and Jefferson counties, primarily along the Highway 30 corridor.
The new charges stem from crimes that occurred after Stotts was freed on bond from multiple previous felonies.
According to the probable cause statement filed by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, Monday’s charges stem from a Sept. 2-3, 2017, incident when Stotts stole two fully restored military HI Hummers from Midwest Military Equipment, Labadie. The thefts occurred Sept. 2 or Sept. 3.
Stotts allegedly attempted to steal a third H1 Hummer but he was unable to get the vehicle started. He caused $200 in damage to the ignition, authorities said.
He allegedly stole a light bar and a sound bar from a fourth vehicle. The damage to the two stolen Hummers totaled more than $5,000.
Authorities allege Stotts was seen on surveillance camera in one of the Hummers at Midwest Military Equipment and later at a gas station in Grubville.
A second probable cause statement also states Stotts stole a 1994 Chevy truck with labels for Bill Williams Construction on the sides Sept. 3 and abandoned the truck in Jefferson County.
Stotts allegedly took the truck from a parking area near a detached garage. He also stole gasoline jugs from the garage, according to the sheriff’s department.
Stotts was charged Aug. 22, 2017, in Franklin County Associate Circuit Court with stealing a motor vehicle and second-degree burglary.
Then, in Sept. 20, 2017, he was charged in Jefferson County with 11 additional felonies, including four tampering with a motor vehicle, five stealing and two burglary.
In total he is charged with 23 felonies in the two counties during the three-month spree.
Stotts allegedly stole more than $200,000 worth of vehicles, firearms and other property.
He was arrested Sept. 7, 2017, near Highway 30 and Dittmer Road about 5 miles east of the Franklin County line.
Stotts was wanted in Franklin County for a crime spree that included the theft of multiple utility vehicles from Jim Trenary Motor Sports, Washington, two Humvees from the Labadie area and the burglary of storage units and residences along Highway 30.
In some of the cases, Stotts drove stolen four-wheel utility vehicles to other burglary scenes.
Stotts was apprehended, Aug. 22, 2017, for the theft of an aluminum trailer and seven side-by-side utility task vehicles (UTVs) from Jim Trenary Motor Sports Aug. 11. The UTVs range in value of up to $19,000.
The suspect also stole a motorcycle from the Washington business Aug. 3, 2017.
Stotts confessed to the vehicle thefts, as well as the burglary of Triple H Storage Aug. 8.
Detectives determined Stotts cut a hole in the fence to the Triple H Self Storage on Highway 30, east of Highway FF, and then cut the locks to 24 units. Reported missing were 22 guns, 10 flat screen TVs, tools, clothing and medication.
Twenty of the guns and many other items were recovered.
Stotts also was arrested Aug. 13, 2017, during a burglary at Hoffmann’s Towing where St. Clair police were notified after he tripped an alarm. He was in possession of a ring of 17 keys to stolen vehicles. St. Clair police recovered a four-wheeler, truck radiator, light bar, bag of tools and a hedge trimmer, all allegedly stolen from the I-44 Truck Center earlier that night.