For more than eight months, a body shop employee at a Plainfield Township auto garage collected more than $18,000 for work he did but kept the money for himself, court records say.
In fact, the owner of Ed’s Auto on Route 512 told police he didn’t discover the alleged actions of Matthew Bernard Yinger, 36, until customers told the owner they had body work done at his garage.
The customers showed the owner, Eduard Klymenko, handwritten receipts signed by Yinger. The problem for Klymenko was that these receipts did not match his business receipts, the records say.
Plainfield Officer Christopher Ryan said in a criminal complaint that he spoke to several customers whose vehicles were worked on by Yinger. The customers said the same thing -- they paid Yinger and Yinger provided them with handwritten receipts that he signed.
Several of the jobs were for more than routine work -- three of the customers paid $5,000, $4,345 and $4,000. The $5,000 bill was for a “total restoration” of a 1994 Jeep Wrangler. Other vehicles included a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, a 1987 Camaro, a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am and a 2002 Ford F-550.
The Jeep owner, meanwhile, discovered that Yinger allegedly sold the vehicle’s motor, transmission, transfer case and rear axle to Capitol Auto Parts of East Bangor for $400 in October, the complaint said.
Plainfield police did not get involved in the case until Nov. 20 (the complaint said Yinger’s alleged actions occurred between April 1 and Nov. 20). On Nov. 27, Ryan received the garage’s receipt book and began calling customers.
Ryan discovered that the Ford F-550 owner wrote out a $4,000 check on Sept. 4 payable to another garage employee. Klymenko talked to the employee, who said he cashed the check and gave the money to Yinger, the complaint said.
Ryan recommends in the complaint that Yinger pay full restitution -- $18,475.
Yinger, of the first block of Pen Argyl Street in Pen Argyl, was charged with seven counts each of theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking or disposition, and receiving stolen property -- all level-three felonies.
He was arraigned Friday night by on-duty District Judge Diane Marakovits of Northampton and committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of 10 percent of $5,000 bail.