A man charged with being involved in a major auto theft and chop shop operation got a 10 year sentence on probation Monday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.
Judge David Patterson presided.
33 year old Jason Douglas Stembridge entered a plea to one count of theft over $60,000 and one count of theft over $10,000. He received a 10 year sentence in one case and 6 years in the other to run concurrently but he was given credit for 183 days of jail time served and placed on probation. He must make restitution to the victims.
Stembridge was accused of stealing automobiles, skid steers, four wheelers, and gooseneck trailers in DeKalb and Warren County for the intended purpose of either selling them outright or dismantling them to be sold as parts or scrap metal. His sentence Monday was only for his crimes in DeKalb County.
Stembridge was arrested Tuesday, March 14 after sheriff’s department detectives found the stolen vehicles and equipment at his home and other locations in the county.
The total value of the stolen vehicles and equipment came to $221,144.
Stembridge was originally charged in DeKalb County with burglary (3 counts), theft of property over $60,000, possession of stolen property over $60,000, theft of property over $10,000, and theft of property over $1,000.
“On Monday March 13 an investigation was conducted of Jason Douglas Stembridge at his residence on Tisdale Drive in DeKalb County and it revealed several stolen vehicles, machinery and recreational vehicles that were stolen from DeKalb and Warren Counties. Some of the vehicles were found to be altered, disassembled, and destroyed by unlawful means,” Sheriff Ray told WJLE.
Items stolen in DeKalb County and recovered in the investigation included a 2004 Chevy Silverado flatbed pickup truck; a 2006 Chevy Silverado pickup truck; a 24 foot gooseneck trailer; a 2016 John Deere 323 cab skid steer; and a 1999 Yamaha Banshee 4 wheeler.
Stolen vehicles and equipment from Warren County recovered included a 2017 John Deere cab skid steer; a 1983 Chevrolet Silverado pickup; a 1984 Chevy Camaro; a 1999 Chevy Z71 pickup truck, a 2003 GMC 2500 Duramax diesel flat bed truck, a 2014 Polaris Razor, and a 40 foot gooseneck flat bed trailer.
According to Sheriff Ray, Stembridge tried to deface the VIN plates and attempted to disguise some of the stolen vehicles by painting or adding decals and stickers to them.
Detectives also learned that Stembridge had broken into East Side Market in Warren County and stolen two cartons of cigarettes. Entry was made by shattering a glass door.
Sheriff Ray explained how the story unfolded. “On Monday, March 13 we received two reports of stolen property. The first one was at a business on McMinnville Highway where a 2004 Chevy Silverado flatbed pickup truck, a 2006 Chevy Silverado pickup truck, and a 24 foot gooseneck trailer were taken”.
“A short time later we received a report that someone had found the 2004 Chevy Silverado flatbed pickup truck and gooseneck trailer in a field on Pine Creek Falls Road. Then another report came in concerning the theft of a 2016 John Deere 323 cab skid steer off of Jefferson Road,” said Sheriff Ray.
“Detectives began working the case and developed Stembridge as a suspect. On Monday, March 13 detectives went to his home and spotted the stolen 2016 John Deere 323 cab skid steer from DeKalb County at his residence. Other vehicles were also there along with a 2017 John Deere cab skid steer. Upon running the VIN plates of those vehicles and the other skid steer we learned that they were stolen out of Warren County including a 1983 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, a 1984 Chevy Camaro, a 1999 Chevy Z71 pickup truck, a 2003 GMC 2500 Duramax diesel flat bed truck, a 2014 Polaris Razor, a 40 foot gooseneck flat bed trailer, along with a 1999 Yamaha Banshee 4 wheeler reported stolen in DeKalb County in 2003.
Detectives later located the 2006 Chevy pickup stolen off McMinnville Highway in the parking lot of Pates Ford Marina,” added Sheriff Ray.
Stembridge was later charged with theft of property over $1,000. According to Sheriff Ray on December 27, 2016 Stembridge allegedly took 2016 Polaris Razor seats valued at $1,144.
Again the total value of the stolen vehicles and equipment was estimated at $221,144 including $98,144 in DeKalb County and $123,000 in Warren County.
The warrants against Stembridge alleged that on Monday, March 13 he entered an enclosed John Deere 323E Cab Skid Steer and stole it from a location on Jefferson Road in DeKalb County. He was also found to be in possession of a stolen 1984 Chevrolet Camaro; a 1983 GMC pickup truck, a 2017 John Deer Skid Steer, a 2014 Polaris Razor, a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado pickup, a 2003 GMC 2500 flatbed pickup, and a 40 foot Hank gooseneck trailer stolen out of Warren County valued at $125,000. The day before, on Sunday March 12, Stembridge allegedly stole a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado, a 2004 Chevy Silverado, and a 24 foot gooseneck trailer, valued at more than $10,000 all taken from a business on McMinnville Highway.