BRUSH VALLEY (KDKA) — An Indiana County man who bought trailers off of Craigslist in order to resell had no idea they were stolen until one of the new owners cracked the case.
State police say the two suspects out of Ohio — Herbert Hines III and John Douglas Reed Jr. — allegedly would steal expensive, specialized trailers, sell them — used — at rock-bottom prices to people in Pennsylvania, and then get away with the money.
“They were selling them on Craigslist, trying to make it appear as though it was a foreclosure type of proceeding,” Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said.
But it was a scam.
At the top of it, according to state police, was a man named Herbert Hines III. It turns out a man in Indiana County bought five of the units off of Hines, hoping to sell them at his Brush Valley car dealership. He shelled out about $50,000 for the trailers. He sold a few, but then his customers called suspecting something wasn’t right with the trailers.
“The case kind of got cracked because one of the buyers was power-washing [his trailer] and saw that the VIN was peeling off,” Dougherty said. “They were coming out of Ohio. He had no idea that these were not legitimate VINs.”
The Indiana County man who bought the stolen trailers has gone about returning his customers’ money, and the trailers themselves are back with their original owners.
Hines and Reed remain on the run.
Combined, they face 222 felony charges for operating a chop shop.