FBI searched his property after he blew off house arrest, court papers show

Justin Griffing
Justin Griffing

A Gulfport man who avoided prison on a stolen boat conviction was ignoring the rules of his house arrest less than three weeks after he’d been placed on probation, court papers show.

And he was suspected in auto thefts and chop-shop involvement.

Justin Griffing, 34, violated house arrest 16 times in less than two months, a document in federal court said. He had permission to go to and from work, but not to come home late or leave after curfew hours.

The FBI stopped by his house for a search on Sept. 6, and agents said they found a stolen Ford F-250, a Jeep Wrangler with parts from a stolen Chevrolet Silverado and an assortment of ammunition.

Griffing had been sentenced June 9 to three years of probation and 11 months on house arrest, and fined $10,000 after the FBI found a stolen boat at his home. He faced up to 10 years in prison.

Federal agents had already suspected Griffing was involved in chop shop operations. He drove to an auto broker’s business on Beatline Road on Aug. 18, one of the days he violated his house arrest, a document said.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden revoked his probation Sept. 13 and sentenced him Monday to two years in prison and three years of probation.

Griffing’s auto interests did not rise to the level of chop-shop operations, “at least at any notable scale,” said Tom Payne, his attorney.

The ammunition found in Griffing’s home belonged to his recently deceased father, but it was in the garage and Griffing had access to it so it was a violation of probation, Payne said.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews