An 18-year-old Williamsport man was locked up Tuesday on a total of 143 charges for going on a six-week crime spree during the summer in which he broke into dozens of vehicles, stealing everything from money to GPS units, according to city police Agent Raymond O. Kontz III.
Investigators did not say why Steven Jack Joy allegedly committed the acts, but at his arraignment, the teenager admitted that drug use was "what drove me into this."
Joy, of 541 Woodland Ave., faces multiple counts of theft, receiving stolen property, theft from motor vehicles and conspiracy, as well as additional charges of carrying a firearm without a license and recklessly endangering.
PHILIP A. HOLMES/Sun-Gazette
Steven Jack Joy, left, is taken to the Lycoming County Prison by city police Agent Raymond O. Kontz III following his arraignment Tuesday on a total of 143 criminal counts.
At one point during the summer, Joy admitted earlier this month, he fired a stolen handgun several times in the 1300 block of Almond Street, "striking a parked vehicle there. He does not have a license to carry a firearm," Kontz wrote in court papers.
"He purchased the handgun from an unidentified person for $170 in mid-August," Kontz said, adding the weapon had been reported stolen weeks earlier to the state police.
State police recovered the gun at a recycling business "after Joy's father found the gun in the home," Kontz added.
The items Joy stole from vehicles ranged from wallets, credit cards and iPods to very expensive camera equipment and laptop computers, Kontz said.
While some victims suffered small losses, other were not so lucky.
One resident of the 1500 block of Almond Street reported a $1,000 loss in mid-August when a briefcase with psychological testing material was stolen from his car while it was parked outside his home.
In another case, a resident of the 300 block of Union Avenue reported $4,600 worth of camera equipment stolen from his 2002 Hyundai Elantra in early August.
In an 18-page document, Kontz outlines in detail more than 30 cases in which Joy allegedly stole items from vehicles. In most cases, the cars were unlocked, Kontz said. If the few that were locked, Joy broke in by smashing a window with a rock, he added.
Most, if not all, of the thefts occurred in the city's East End, where Joy lives, Kontz said. Among the locations where the crimes took place were: 1100 block of Penn Street, 500-700 blocks of Wyoming Street, 800-1400-1500 blocks of Packer Street, 300-700 blocks of Grampian Boulevard, 200-300-400 blocks of Woodland Avenue, 100-200-500-700 blocks of Lincoln Avenue, 1400 block of Cherry Street, 500-600 blocks of Harding Avenue and the 200 block of Union Avenue.
Joy, who has cooperated with investigators, surrendered Tuesday afternoon to face the charges. Following his arraignment before District Judge Allen P. Page III, he was committed to the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bail.
"The 143 counts is a substantial amount of charges," Page said in explaining the bail he set.