Hometown Car Sales owner Brian VanVlerah, 38, of the 300 block of Pennsylvania Ave., was charged with three counts of tampering with records and one count each of theft, forgery and felonious prohibited acts involving certificates of titles.
The charges came less than three weeks after VanVlerah was arrested on three counts of prohibited acts involving certificates of titles, one count of forgery and one misdemeanor failure to maintain records, Sandusky police Detective Gary Wichman said.
“He’s been leaving a paper trail that’s easy to trace,” Wichman said.
VanVlerah was allegedly selling cars on consignment, then illegally altering buyer’s agreements, giving him more time to acquire titles and secure payments, Wichman said.
VanVlerah’s latest charges don’t just revolve around title transfers. Wichman’s ongoing investigation into the West Monroe Street business uncovered at least one instance of an outright forged signature.
While apparently trying to get his affairs in order in light of recent charges, VanVlerah allegedly replicated a customer’s signature on the title to her vehicle.
“He actually forged this woman’s name while he was out on bond from the other charges,” Wichman said.
When Wichman questioned VanVlerah Monday following his arrest, the salesman said he wasn’t aware that forging the signature was illegal, Wichman said.
VanVlerah’s theft charge stemmed from an August incident in which he accepted payment for a brake job, but never actually completed the work, Wichman said. That owner paid VanVlerah for repairs, but the car’s brakes went out just days later. A reputable repairman later told the owner no work had ever been performed, police said.
Officers have received more than a dozen complaints about VanVlerah’s fly-by-night operation, said Wichman, who along with Ohio BMV investigators is continuing to investigate the allegations.
“His troubles are just starting,” Wichman said.