Friday, 22 August 2014 10:51

Champaign County, OH, Body Shop Owner Charged with 30 Counts of Theft, Lawyer Says Should be Civil Case

A Champaign County, OH, shop owner has been indicted on 30 counts of theft after several customers complained to St. Paris police, according to reports in the Springfield News-Sun.

A Champaign County grand jury indicted Bradley Hutchinson, 37, of 223 N. Church St. in St. Paris, on 13 counts of grand theft of a motor vehicle, eight counts of petty theft, six counts of theft and three counts of receiving stolen property. “What is unique is we don’t have one victim. We have a number of different victims that are alleging criminal activity that is very similar,” Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi said.

The alleged thefts took place at his body shop S & A Automotive, which used to be located at 124 W. Main St. in St. Paris. Hutchinson moved out of the building in May and is now seeking to open a new shop in Springfield at the intersection of Perry Street and Hyer Avenue, just off of Bechtle Ave. He is accused of charging customers and then not providing the service, according to police reports, and in some cases allegedly wouldn’t give people their cars back.

Hutchinson’s lawyer, Jon Paul Rion, said this matter should have been a civil issue rather than a criminal case. His client provided all of the services that any of his customers paid for, Rion said. “Had people paid for the work that was performed, there would not have been any issues,” he said. Dan Carey said he is one of Hutchinson’s victims. He brought his car to Hutchinson to fix his engine.

“It’s definitely hard to swallow, I guess, because he comes into our small town and violates a lot of people that lived here,” Carey said. Hutchinson said it was fixed and when Carey asked if he could drive it before he paid, he said Hutchinson became, “verbally abusive and locked my car in his garage.” Hutchinson had Carey’s car until the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office seized it while executing a search warrant in May. Before opening his shop in St. Paris, Hutchinson ran a body shop in Sidney.