Athens County Courthouse

Athens County Courthouse. File photo.

A man from The Plains was sentenced to prison for his role in a string of catalytic converter thefts less than a month after he was released from an 18-month prison sentence.

Jonathan Westerviller, 34, pleaded guilty Tuesday in the Athens County Common Pleas Court to a fifth-degree felony charge of complicity to theft. Judge George McCarthy imposed a prison sentence of nine months, according to a news release from The Athens County Prosecutor’s Office.

He was arrested on Sept. 17, three days after the crime was committed and only a week after he’d been released from his previous prison sentence connected to a motor vehicle theft.

James Howerton, 47, and Tyler Ball, 25, both of Nelsonville, were arrested along with Westerviller. Both men are charged with breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony; grand theft, a fourth-degree felony; possessing criminal tools, a firth-degree felony; and vandalism, a fourth-degree felony.

They are accused of breaking into Athens Transmission, located southwest of Uptown Athens on Hebbardsville Road, and stealing seven catalytic converters. Westerviller was allegedly the getaway driver, according to the release. Howerton is expected to be arraigned Oct. 21 and Ball is under a $50,000 bond.

Following his arrest, Westerviller reportedly tried to shift the blame to a third party, but further investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Athens County Sheriff’s Office resulted in charges being dropped against the individual, the news release said. Since then, additional arrests have been made in connection with more thefts of catalytic converters.

On Sunday, deputies arrested David L. Willison, 45, of Chauncey, on charges of receiving stolen property, a fifth-degree felony. Officers with the Athens Police Department arrested Westerviller’s brother, Robert Westerviller, 27, of The Plains, on charges of breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony, and theft, a fifth-degree felony. Cases against Robert Westerviller and Willison have yet to be indicted.

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