A Los Angeles man appears to have apologized on his social media account for allegedly stealing the roof panel of the Porsche in which “Fast and Furious" star Paul Walker died.
The man, 18-year-old James Witty, was arrested last week on suspicion of stealing the roof panel from the back of a tow truck carrying the wrecked Porsche Carrera GT away from the crash site in Valencia.
A photo posted to an Instagram account for @jamesonwhitty showed what the user claimed to be a piece of the Porsche from the crash: “Piece of Paul walkers car, took it off a tow truck at a stop light…#paulwalker” #rip #comeup.”
Now, in a message posted on the same account, the car enthusiast says he took the roof to make a memorial out of it.
“Paul was a childhood idol to me and many. At the time I was not thinking about the consequences it could have, I never wanted it to be like this I wasn’t going to sell the piece to make a profit,” the message reads. “Nobody in this world is perfect, we all make mistakes. Some bigger than others.”
Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives said they are talking with a second, 25-year-old suspect and expect him to surrender soon.
Sheriff’s officials said they were aware of photos posted online but would not confirm if they belonged to the two suspects. Witty was booked on suspicion of grand theft and tampering with evidence. He was released Friday night after posting $20,000 bail.
In a news release, the Sheriff’s Department said the alleged theft occurred while the Porsche was being towed away.
“A witness saw a male exit a vehicle that was following the tow truck. The male grabbed a piece of the wrecked Porsche off the tow truck bed. The male drove away with the stolen vehicle part. The tow truck driver reported the theft to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station,” the statement said.
Search warrants were served, and the Sheriff’s Department found some of the parts at a home in Canyon Country.
Walker, 40, died Nov. 30 from a combination of traumatic injuries and burns after the Porsche Carrera GT he was riding in crashed into a light pole in Santa Clarita and erupted in flames, the L.A. County coroner’s office reported last week.
Roger Rodas, 38, Walker’s financial advisor and friend, was behind the wheel of the high-performance 2005 Porsche when it crashed. He was killed by the impact alone, a medical examiner concluded.
On Sunday, hundreds of fans rallied at the crash site.
When Walker died, the cast of “Fast & Furious 7" was on a brief Thanksgiving break from filming in Atlanta. Last week, Universal Pictures officially put the film on hiatus.
The studio also announced this week that it would donate a percentage of proceeds from the home entertainment sales of “Fast & Furious 6" to Walker’s charity, Reach Out Worldwide. Walker and Rodas had attended a fundraiser for the nonprofit just before the crash.