Man steals Bishop Malone's car, gets "fair" sentence

Attorney cites rough upbringing in defense
Posted at 8:06 PM, Jun 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-13 11:12:11-04

The Buffalo man who pleaded guilty to stealing several cars including an Erie County Sheriff's deputy's personal vehicle and Bishop Richard Malone's vehicle will spend one year in prison.

20-year-old Joshua Hobes was sentenced on Monday for Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Second and Third Degrees, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and Identity Theft in the Second Degree.

It all started in September 2017 when an Erie County Sheriff's Deputy reported her vehicle had been stolen from her driveway overnight. Upon investigation, authorities say they found another car that had been reported stolen from William Street in Buffalo nearby.

A few days later, Buffalo Police encountered the missing SUV on the road and attempted to follow it. A pursuit ensued, and the driver, later identified by surveillance video as Hobes, ran away.

About a month later, a homeowner on Susan Drive in Clarence called the Erie County Sheriff's Office saying a man knocked on the door and tried to get into her home.

While investigating, deputies noticed that a vehicle at another home on the same street had its door open and looked at though someone had rummaged through it. They proceeded to patrol the surrounding streets and found a pickup truck that was parked but running nearby on Thornwood Lane. Hobes was behind the wheel, and he claimed to be an employee of the company whose logo was on the side of the pickup, but deputies determined Hobes actually stole the truck from outside of a home in Buffalo earlier that morning. 

Fast forward to February 2018 when Hobes was found driving Bishop Richard Malone's vehicle in Rochester and was arrested. Authorities determined Hobes or someone else entered the Bishop's Oakwood Place home through a backdoor a few days before, taking a jacket that contained the keys to the Bishop's car along with several credit cards issued to a diocesan priest and the Diocese of Buffalo. Authorities say surveillance video from several stores showed Hobes using the cards.

Despite the relative notoriety of two of the victims, Hobes maintains his did not target the sheriff's deputy or Bishop Malone.

After his sentencing, Hobes' attorney, James Auricchio, said his 20-year-old client has had several challenges in his life when it comes to his family and upbringing that kept him in a constant state of "fight or flight" mentality.

"We see this commonly with kids his age in the city, Auricchio said. "He's struggling for survival not just for the things that we may struggle with everyday. Sure we may not have enough money in our pocket for a cup of coffee. This kid didn't have money for food at times in his life. So that's what he was dealing with."

Auricchio said Hobes also has a history of mental illness and tended to "self-medicate" by drinking alcohol, which played a role in his decision to commit the crimes. 

Auriccio says he believes Hobes received a fair sentence based on his history and crimes. He will serve his one year sentence in a local facility.

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