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Man arrested in Colfax agrees to testify against theft ring

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  — A 44-year-old man arrested in Colfax last December after fleeing on foot from a police officer has agreed to testify against several people implicated in multiple thefts and burglaries.

Miles J. Gloss, along with his attorney, Melissa Peterson, appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court April 7  before Judge Rod Smeltzer.

Gloss was charged with one felony count of burglary to a building in connection with items stolen from A-Z Auto & Truck Salvage & Recycling Center on state Highway 29 near Elk Mound. He also was charged with one felony count of possessing marijuana and a misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer in connection with his arrest in Colfax in December.

Court records list the address for Gloss as High Street in Colfax. Court records previously listed an address in Boyceville for Gloss.

The criminal complaint indicates that another defendant implicated Gloss in the theft of $30,000 worth of items from a Lake Hallie hotel construction site.

Gloss’s attorney told the court that her client wants to get a job and to start making payments on money he owes and that he also wants to work with law enforcement to solve the burglaries.

Peterson said Gloss wants to show that he can function with Huber privileges and knows that if he cannot be trusted when given Huber privileges, he will go back to prison.

“He knows it’s time to clean up his act,” she said.

Gloss has had many prior arrests and has served prison time in Florida, said Dunn County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Maki.

Numerous items were stolen from A-Z Auto Salvage, he said.

“This is serious stuff … (it’s) big time thievery in Western Wisconsin,” Judge Smeltzer said.

Regarding the charges associated with fleeing a police officer in Colfax, Judge Smeltzer dismissed the case against Gloss.

The burglary charge carries a penalty of up to a $25,000 fine and/or 12 years and six months in prison, Judge Smeltzer noted.

Gloss waived his right to a preliminary hearing and pleaded guilty to the burglary.

As per the plea agreement, Judge Smeltzer placed Gloss on three years of probation, withheld sentencing, and as a condition of probation, ordered Gloss to serve 120 days in the county jail consecutive to other jail time he is serving and granted Huber privileges.

Judge Smeltzer also included Gloss’s truthful testimony against the others named in the burglary case as a condition of the probation and as Gloss had agreed to for the plea agreement.

In addition, Gloss was ordered not to open a checking account and not to take out any online loans or payday loans.

Complaint

Here is some of the information included in the criminal complaint about the thefts and burglaries.

In December, an investigator with the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department sent an e-mail to a Minnesota scrap yard inquiring about a list of suspect names.

A representative for Northern Metal Recycling replied, indicating he had records of Ryan Hobbick recycling large amounts of copper.

Court records indicate Hobbick has a Menomonie address. Court records previously listed addresses in Ridgeland and Boyceville.

The sheriff’s department investigator also received a voicemail from Kadingers Inc. near Downing indicating that Kadingers suspected Hobbick of scrapping stolen items.

The investigator sent the information from the scrap yards to surrounding law enforcement agencies. Officer Travis Hakes from the Lake Hallie Police Department — who also serves as the chief of police in Elk Mound — contacted Dunn County and indicated that the photos from Northern Metal Recycling included items stolen from a hotel job site in Lake Hallie.

According to the Dunn County investigator, Stevie Walls Sr. talked about hearing a news story referencing a large burglary of $30,000 at a hotel in Chippewa.

Hakes conducted further investigation and determined that video surveillance indicated Hobbick, Gloss and Stevie Walls Jr. were in the area of the Lake Hallie burglary at the time it occurred.

Current court records list an address in Menomonie for both Walls, junior and senior. Court records previously listed addresses in Boyceville and in Elk Mound.

Stolen property

The Dunn County investigator learned that Stevie Walls Sr., 52, had given stolen property to deputies while they were at his residence looking for Gloss.

Walls Sr. said he suspected the property was stolen from a place by Elk Mound and that Gloss had brought the items to his house.

Walls Sr. — who is charged with burglary, identity theft, obstructing an officer and bail jumping — said Gloss had brought a gun cabinet, a four-wheeler, a boat motor and numerous tools to his residence. Walls Sr. said Gloss and Hobbick had cut the lock off the junkyard gate and had replaced it with their own lock.

Walls Sr. also said that Gloss had recently sold a large tool box full of tools to a person identified as Charles Hettrick.

In addition, Walls Sr. told investigators that Gloss had said he was involved in the theft from the construction site in Lake Hallie.

Walls Sr. said, too, that Hobbick had taken the guns out of the gun cabinet.

Bibles

When investigators asked Walls Sr. if he had been involved with any of the crimes or sold any of the stolen property, Walls Sr. said “no,” and that he would “swear on a stack of Bibles.”

Investigators had also learned that checks had been stolen from the junkyard, and Walls Sr. said he had heard Hobbick was writing bad checks.

On December 16, 2014, investigators learned that a man named Marvin Blodgett had purchased a stolen drill from Walls Sr.

When investigators asked Blodgett about the purchase, he told investigators he had bought a Milwaukee cordless drill from Walls Sr. and that Walls Sr. had included a smaller Bosch cordless drill for $60.

Blodgett turned over the drills to investigators and said he had given the money to Walls Sr. at the home of Walls Sr.

When asked if he was involved with any of the crimes, Blodgett replied, “Never.”

Blodgett gave investigators permission to look around his property, but nothing else that had been stolen was located.

Warning

Investigators then went to the residence of Walls Sr. to pick up stolen property and informed Walls Sr. they knew he had warned the others that law enforcement would be coming to talk to them.

Walls Sr. denied warning anyone, but Tiffany and Ryan Hobbick and Walls Jr. had told investigators Walls Sr. had warned them. Telephone records indicated, too, that Walls Sr. had made telephone calls to them.

Investigators also uncovered evidence during a search warrant executed at Tiffany Hobbick’s residence that the identity of a woman named Beverly Wilson had been stolen and used to obtain cell phones. Investigators had found documentation and photographs of Wilson’s driver’s license and social security card.

Tiffany Hobbick had told investigators that Walls Sr. had given her the information to try to obtain cell phones and a cell phone plan in her name.

Hearings

A preliminary hearing is scheduled in Dunn County Circuit Court May 1 for the charges against Walls Sr.

Stevie Walls Jr., 31, is charged with one felony count of fraud against a financial institution, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled April 14.

Ryan Hobbick, 37, is charged with six felonies: misappropriating identity information to obtain money; fraud against a financial institution exceeding $500 but not more than $10,000 (two counts); organizing financial crimes; burglary; and issuing more than $2,500 in worthless checks. He also is charged with one misdemeanor count of the theft of less than $2,500 by false representation.

Ryan Hobbick is scheduled for a preliminary hearing May 18.

Tiffany Hobbick is charged with four felonies: fraud against a financial institution exceeding $500 but not more than $10,000 (three counts), and misappropriating identification to obtain money. She also is charged with two misdemeanor counts of theft of less than $2,500 by false representation.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled in Dunn County Circuit Court for Tiffany Hobbick on May 12.