KANSAS CITY, MO (STL.News) A Kansas City, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to steal high-end sport utility vehicles and pick-ups from out-of-state dealerships and transport them to Kansas City for sale on the black market.
Joshua Walker, 44, was sentenced by U.S District Howard F. Sachs to seven years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Walker to pay $212,998 in restitution.
On July 10, 2019, Walker pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy to transport stolen vehicles across state lines and to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Walker admitted that he participated in a conspiracy from Dec. 1, 2015, to Feb. 2, 2016, to steal at least 10 high-end sport utility vehicles and pick-up trucks from three out-of-state auto dealerships and deliver them to Kansas City.
Co-defendant Timothy Hood, 38, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and was sentenced on Aug. 6, 2019, to three years and 10 months in federal prison without parole.
Hood and co-conspirators organized small groups to steal 10 vehicles, worth approximately $710,933, from three dealerships in Nebraska and Iowa. Hood affixed fraudulent vehicle identification numbers (VINs) onto the dashboard of the stolen vehicles. Many of the fraudulent VINs used during the conspiracy were true VINs from other vehicles owned by car dealerships and were utilized so that the stolen vehicles would be difficult to trace and could be sold on the black market.
On Jan. 12, 2016, Walker was stopped by police while driving one of the stolen vehicles, a 2015 GMC Sierra. The VIN affixed on the dashboard was fraudulent.
On Jan. 6, 2019, Kansas City police officers saw Walker driving a stolen 2019 Ford F-150. When Walker parked and got out of the truck, he was arrested by officers due to a warrant for a felony probation violation. One of the officers saw a loaded Glock .40-caliber firearm with an extended magazine in the driver’s side door pocket of Walker’s vehicle.
Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Walker has been convicted in 16 felony cases, including a 2003 case for being a felon in possession of a firearm. After serving his federal sentence in that case, according to court documents, Walker was revoked twice for violating the terms of his supervised release.
On Sept. 22, 2016, Hood was pulled over for a traffic infraction while he was driving one of the stolen vehicles with a fraudulent VIN. Investigators searched Hood’s laptop, which was in the vehicle. The computer contained scanned images of templates for temporary Kansas license plates, insurance cards, notary stamps, bills of sale, release of liens, and bar code labels of VINs. The search of the computer also revealed searches of legitimate VINs that were fraudulently used or affixed to other stolen vehicles in this case.
All of the stolen vehicles have been recovered by law enforcement officers and sold as salvage. Two of the stolen vehicles were recovered at the residence of Hood’s girlfriend.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Venneman. It was investigated by the FBI, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.