PEKIN — A 17-year-old Pekin youth thought he could make some money selling used tires, but instead he and two friends will possibly face felony charges for allegedly dumping hundreds of tires in rural areas of Tazewell County.

The three were arrested Friday on charges of criminal disposal of waste, punishable by probation to three years in prison. 

The two 17-year-old youths were given notices to appear in juvenile court. Brandon Hardt, 19, of Pekin, was jailed until Sunday, when he was given a notice to appear in court on June 19. 

The youth who owned the tires, who was not identified by the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department, was collecting old tires to resell, but his landlord said enough was enough and ordered the teen to move the tires off the property, said Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department Investigations Capt. Tim Gillespie.

And he did.

In all, he and his friends allegedly dumped 553 tires in Elm Grove Township, Cincinnati Township and rural Pekin — 248 in Elm Grove, 245 in Cincinnati and 60 along VFW Road near the Federal Correction Institution-Pekin. The city of Pekin paid $480 in disposal fees for the dumped tires and $108 for labor; Cincinnati Township, $735 in disposal fees and $446 for labor; and Elm Grove Township, $620 in disposal fees and $910 for labor, according to TCSD documents.

The juvenile who owned the tires also admitted to dumping garbage in the middle of a mile of road between South Pekin and Townline Road along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. His grandfather, who has not been identified, got wind of what the boy had done and made him clean up the debris.

Gillespie said “his grandpa didn’t know” about the tires. The debris dump will be included in the report to the Tazewell County State’s Attorney Office.

“I think it was just an opportunity to sell them for $5 a tire,” said Gillespie. “He probably was getting them free, I’m going to assume now.

“I don’t know why, he probably thought, ‘I can make some cash. People are always looking for some quick used tires.’ He was trying to pick out the best tires. He was getting them from all over the place. I’m sure people were like, ‘Sure, you can have all you want.’ He was trying to make an extra buck on the side, kind of like a scrapper looking for metal to scrap. He must have had a market, he must have been selling some or he wouldn’t have kept collecting them.”

Follow Sharon Woods Harris at Twitter.com/sharrispekin