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Serial car thief pleads guilty

By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – A Metro East man has pleaded guilty to stealing more than 83 cars and close to a million dollars in property.

Bobby Miller of Fairview Heights faces up to a decade in prison and fines totaling a quarter million dollars.

Because of the sheer volume of cars Miller stole and the fact that he took them from both sides of the river he was charged in federal court.

Catherine Hanaway is the US Attorney for eastern Missouri.

"Obviously this is one the biggest auto thieves we've had in the region in long time," says Hanaway. "It should have a real effect on the number of vehicles that are stolen and hopefully it will send a strong message that you can't just run across state lines to avoid the police."

Detective William Muller of the St. Louis County Auto Crimes Unit described the perpetrator this way: "Just a man on a mission-he had to make money to support his habit."

Muller said Miller said he was stealing the cars to pay for his addiction to crack cocaine. His target of choice was Ford vans and U-Haul trucks.

Detective Muller says investigators were able to link Millers crimes together because he followed a pattern.

"He would punch out the lock; he would take a screw driver and punch out where the key goes...I think ninety percent of our trucks were stolen that same way."

Miller often stole vehicles from construction sites. Most of the vehicles were recovered but very little of the expensive equipment was ever located.