Bradford man accused of stealing money meant for car repair

A Bradford man is facing allegations that he took money from someone who needed car repairs but failed to make the repairs.

John J.F. Rhodes Jr., 39, was arraigned Monday before District Judge Richard Luther on charges of theft by deception-failure to correct and three counts each of theft by deception-false impression, receiving stolen property and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, all first-degree misdemeanors.

According to the criminal complaint, on Aug. 11, Otto-Eldred Regional Police received a message that Rhodes received money to make car repairs for someone but had not returned the car. An officer talked to the victim and learned that Rhodes had not performed any of the work he told her he had performed and he had not used the money to purchase products for the job.

In May, the victim gave Rhodes a total of $1,450 for repairs and parts: $350 for repairs on May 17, $900 for parts on May 19 and $200 for an exhaust manifold on May 30. There were also exhaust and brake issues that needed done but were not, court records indicated.

“The defendant over and over again promised the vehicle would be ready and he would even deliver it,” the complaint stated.

On July 26, Rhodes told her the car was done and he just needed to buff some spots, but that wasn’t true, according to the complaint.

The victim told police that none of the repairs that Rhodes said he did were done, and she had to pay to take the car to someone else to have the repairs made.

Rhodes is free on $10,000 unsecured bail, and a preliminary hearing is set for May 5.


Altoona man charged with firearm, marijuana possession

An Altoona man is facing allegations that he was in possession of a firearm and marijuana when a state trooper pulled him over in the work truck he was driving.

Christopher P. Hicks Jr., 31, was arraigned Monday before District Judge William Todd on charges of firearm not to be carried without a license, a third-degree felony; possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use and possession of drug paraphernalia, misdemeanors.

The criminal complaint states that at 8:10 p.m. Aug. 31, a state trooper was sitting off Route 155 in Liberty Township, when he observed a pick-up truck hauling a utility trailer with a side-by-side on it. The trailer did not have functioning rear lights, so the trooper conducted a traffic stop.

The operator — Hicks — told the trooper that the lights worked that morning and must have gone out again. Hicks said it was a company vehicle, according to the complaint.

There were three other people in the truck, and the trooper could smell the odor of burnt marijuana coming from the vehicle, court records alleged. All the occupants indicated that they were from the Altoona area and were in the local area for work.

The trooper had Hicks exit the truck, and he asked Hicks if he had any weapons on him; Hicks said no. He asked Hicks if there was anything in the vehicle he should know about, and Hicks said “not that I’m aware of,” the complaint stated. He asked if there was any marijuana in the vehicle, and Hicks said, “not that I’m aware of, there’s not supposed to be.”

The trooper told Hicks he could smell marjuana in the vehicle and asked again if there was marijuana in the vehicle, and Hicks said there possibly was. Hicks “related he was not a marijuana smoker and he usually doesn’t ask questions he doesn’t want to know the answers to,” the complaint stated.

The trooper talked to the vehicle occupants through the passenger side windows, told them he could smell marijuana and asked if there was any in the vehicle. Hicks showed the trooper an aluminum can that a “roach” had been placed in after smoking, and he told the officer they had passed it around to smoke it after work, according to court records.

The complaint stated that the officer then asked if there were any weapons or anything else in the vehicle he should know about, and they said no.

During a subsequent search of the truck, police found in a suitcase a 9mm firearm with eight rounds of 9mm ammunition loaded into a silver pistol magazine and one round loaded into the chamber of the firearm, as well as a “We the People” pistol holder, the complaint stated.

The trooper asked Hicks if he had a pistol permit, and he said he does not. Hicks said the firearm was his and was registered to him. Hicks had a marijuana pipe and lighter in the upper right pocket of his outer vest, too, according to the complaint.

Hicks is free on $15,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is set for May 3.

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