Warsaw Man Faces Auto Theft Charge

A Warsaw man was arrested this week and accused of auto theft after allegedly stealing a car that belonged to his girlfriend’s grandmother.
James Paul Grothaus, 22, of 1692 E. CR 200N, Warsaw, was booked into the Kosciusko County Jail Tuesday on charges of auto theft and probation violation. His bond was set at $10,500.
The girlfriend, Erin Renee Briseno, 26, of 308 S. Main St., Claypool, was arrested in August for auto theft and was booked into the county jail on a $5,250 bond, according to an Aug. 26 newspaper story.
On Aug. 1, a Claypool Police Department officer, Charles LeWallen, responded to an automobile theft, according to a probable cause affidavit from the Kosciusko County Prosecutor’s Office filed in Kosciusko Circuit/Superior Court.
LeWallen spoke with the victim, who advised that on July 28 her granddaughter, Briseno, and her granddaughter’s boyfriend, Grothaus, were at her residence. Briseno and Grothaus then took the victim’s vehicle without permission or consent.
The grandmother then soon learned the two had driven to Des Moines, Iowa, with her vehicle.
LeWallen spoke with Polk County, Iowa, officer Matthew York, who told him Briseno had left her infant at a Des Moines residence. LeWallen advised York about the stolen vehicle.
York located the victim’s vehicle, which was occupied by Grothaus. York advised LeWallen that Briseno had left Grothaus earlier in the day and was not with him at the time the vehicle was recovered.
York impounded the vehicle to return it to the victim.