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Theft charges withdrawn against Monongahela mayor

| Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, 6:34 p.m.

Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone has withdrawn theft charges against Monongahela Mayor Robert Kepics and acknowledged that charges shouldn't have been filed because it is a civil matter.

Kepics, 56, was charged this week with theft by deception after a New Eagle couple filed a complaint with a district judge stating that he has failed to pay back a loan of nearly $4,000.

“After hearing the evidence, it was apparent to me that this was a civil and not a criminal matter and that a criminal charge should not have been filed,” Vittone said Friday.

Vittone explained that the charge requires an intent to deceive another person into parting with their money.

“The facts in this case show that Kepics made three loan payments...which demonstrates Kepics' intentions to pay back the loan.”

Kepics, who could not be reached for comment Friday, peviously said that he is on disability, which makes it difficult to pay back the loan.

He was arrested Tuesday after John and Shirley Amon filed a complaint with District Judge Mark Wilson stating that Kepics borrowed $3,935 from them on April 11, 2011.

They said he repaid $1,400 seven months later but has repeatedly failed to pay back the remainder, making only two payments of $100, the last one in September.

Vittone said he never approved the charge and that it had been approved by an assistant district attorney, Josh Carroll.

He said he has spoken to Carroll and will conduct “an immediate and thorough review of the case and the procedures that led to the filing of the charges.”

Kepics, a former Monongahela city councilman who was elected mayor in 2008, is an electrician who said his income is only $1,400 a month.

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or mhasch@tribweb.com.

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