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Indiana woman sues auto shop, police, borough

| Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012

An Indiana Borough woman claims in a federal lawsuit that police falsely charged her with several crimes to help out a repair shop owner who conducts business with the borough.

The shop owner, who was sued despite receiving a court-ordered final payment, said on Friday that he believes the lawsuit has been spawned by the plaintiff's recent financial struggles.

Allison McCoy-Jones, 48, said Michael Ziner of Import Auto Works repaired her car in 2010 and returned it to her before her insurance claim had been approved.

When the claim was denied, he went to Indiana police, who charged her in February 2011 with theft of services and fraudulent removal of a vehicle from a garage, even though they knew there was no deception and that Ziner had given her the car, according to the lawsuit filed this week.

Indiana District Judge Guy Haberl told both sides to work out an agreement, and McCoy-Jones paid Ziner $3,000 in April, the lawsuit states. Ziner, reached for comment yesterday, said that once he received the final payment, he thought he had heard the end of the issue.

Instead, McCoy-Jones decided to sue Ziner, the borough, the police department, police Chief William C. Sutton and Officers Michael Rhoades and Wesley Hite, claiming they violated her civil rights.

Ziner said he believes McCoy-Jones' lawsuit is motivated by money because she recently faced some financial hardships.

"She has an ax to grind," Ziner said. "I think she's just trying to get money."

Robert Owsiany, McCoy-Jones' lawyer, said that even though the charges were dismissed and expunged, reports about her case have made it hard for his client to find work.

Borough solicitor Wayne Kablack declined to comment. Hite said the department would not comment on the lawsuit.

Ziner said the two sides haggled over the bill for several months until Haberl ordered the $3,000 payment.

"This didn't happen overnight," Ziner said. He has yet to see the lawsuit and was informed about it by the media, he said. He referred further questions to his attorney, Bob Muir of Indiana.

"It seems like I was the last one to find out," he said.

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