Eric Schaad stole gas from Tazewell County service stations with the style of a veteran, the same manner in which he met his punishment this week.
Barely a month after his latest arrest, Schaad, 35, of Pekin, cut his prosecution short by pleading guilty to four theft charges that produced a five-year prison term.
The term now adds to the 19 years in prison sentences Schaad has received for thefts and burglaries in Tazewell and Peoria counties since 1999, including a four-year term for theft imposed in the latter county earlier this month.
Schaad targeted gas stations in his latest crimes by driving off with hundreds of dollars in gas — more than he would appear to need for personal use — from stations in East Peoria and Pekin.
He used the account of a construction company he worked for to pump more than $500 worth of gas into his own vehicles 10 times between Aug. 16 and Sept. 15 at the Thornton’s station in East Peoria, according to a prosecutor’s court affidavit.
The day after his latest theft there, he filled one vehicle with $57 worth of gas at a Shell Oil station in that city before dawn and drove off without paying.
Several hours later he returned in another vehicle, borrowed from his girlfriend, and repeated the crime with $52 in gas, the affidavit stated.
Schaad was charged with theft in the Thornton station case in October, after a station manager alerted the construction company he had been using its account for apparently personal purchases. After failing to appear in court in that case in February, he was sought on an increased bond of $20,000 as prosecutors added charges stemming from his subsequent thefts.
One them came in Pekin while he was being sought after missing his court date, according to court records. Schaad allegedly drove off without paying for $25 in gas from the Pekin Gas station at 1502 Sheridan Road on Feb. 14.
When an officer saw and confronted him four days later, he promised to return to the station and pay the bill, but never did before his arrest the following day, court records state.
Schaad pleaded guilty and was sentenced Tuesday on four theft counts stemming from the East Peoria and Pekin cases. He received a four-year term on March 12 for felony theft in Peoria County.
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