Police once again are searching for a Missouri man suspected of taking part in a theft ring that targeted expensive tire rims in the Pekin-Peoria area and across two states.
Pekin police first caught Brian Mims, 57, last June as he tried to escape them by jumping into a small North Pekin lake, a choice his alleged partner made successfully.
Free on bond, Mims, of Potosi, Mo., made several scheduled appearances in Tazewell County Circuit Court since his arrest. That string ended Monday.
A new bond of $60,000 was attached to an arrest warrant on felony charges of theft and possessing a stolen vehicle. A prosecutor requested the warrant contain “no geographic limits.”
Mims and another man sped away when a witness saw them crouching between vehicles before dawn June 27 in the Ray Dennison Chevrolet Dealership off Illinois Route 29 on Pekin’s northern edge. The witness followed them north, then east on Chateau Drive, where the men abandoned their van and ran to a Twin Lakes shoreline. Police, called by the witness, arrived moments later.
Officers heard a splash, then found Mims hiding under a dock. He jumped into the lake, swam to its middle and remained there for 10 minutes until he returned and surrendered.
The other man was not found, though police recovered a pair of shoes on the shore. Police speculated he emerged from the lake and was driven from the area, possibly by a third partner. Mims claimed he had been alone, according to a prosecutor’s court affidavit.
In the van, which had been stolen a week earlier in Missouri, police found 28 tire rims valued at $1,000 each that had been taken from late-model vehicles in the Dennison lot.
Similar thefts took place over the previous two months in the Peoria-Pekin area and in Quincy. A detective in that city cited more rim thefts, dating back months, in southern Illinois and southern Missouri. Similarities in the cases included use of a stolen vehicle to transport the rims and cut electrical wires on light poles in the dealerships’ lots, police said.
A hearing will be set to revoke Mims’ previous $40,000 bond, which he posted with $4,000 in cash the day after he was charged.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin