Monongahela mayor arrested on theft charge
By Jeremy Sellew
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 12:46 a.m.
Monongahela Mayor Robert Kepics was arrested and jailed Tuesday on charges of theft by deception-false impression after he allegedly borrowed nearly $4,000 from an elderly couple and failed to pay the amount back.
But the mayor insisted he didn't steal the money.
“I am not a thief,” the 56-year-old mayor said. “I'm on disability. I only make $1,400 a month. I have been trying to pay back as much as I can.”
The private criminal complaint was filed by John and Shirley Amon, of 413 Carroll St., New Eagle.
The couple claims in court papers they loaned Kepics $3,935 on April 26, 2011. In November, Kepics repaid the couple $1,400.
John Amon said in the complaint “Robert said he was going to get the rest of the money from his 401K. He never showed up or even had the decency to call us.”
The Amons tried to reach Kepics through the mail, writing in a letter, “If you can't get all of the money at one time, maybe we can work out a payment plan.”
Kepics sent a letter of his own in response that was received by the Amons on Jan. 11, 2012, that implied that he would contact them about a payment plan if he wasn't able to secure the amount.
The Amons claim that after that letter, the mayor never got in touch with them, even after Kepics allegedly stated he would give them money after receiving his income tax return on March 1.
In an effort to recoup some of the remaining $2,535 owed to them, the Amons sent Kepics a letter on July 10 stating that they would accept $100 per month as a payment plan. Just over two weeks later, Kepics said he would try to meet those payments.
Since then, the couple claimed they have received only two payments, one on Aug. 8 and another Sept. 12.
He still owes the couple $2,335, according to the complaint.
“I was making payments to these people. I have the receipts,” said Kepics, who called the Amons friends who lived in the same neighborhood where he was raised.
The charges were approved by the Washington County District Attorney's Office Tuesday and an arrest warrant was issued by Magisterial District Judge Mark Wilson.
Kepics was arrested by Washington County Constable Wally Fronzaglio, who brought the mayor before Wilson to be arraigned.
Wilson remanded Kepics to the Washington County Correctional Facility on $5,000 straight cash bond.
Kepics eventually posted bond and was released after a bondsman posted bail.
A preliminary hearing before Wilson is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Dec. 20.
Monongahela will have its monthly council meeting Wednesday. It is unknown if Kepics will attend the meeting.
Jeremy Sellew is a Trib Total media staff writer. He can be reached at at 724-684-2667 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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