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  Signs Of A Scam Nixes $92,500 Sale Of 2019 Jeep  
  November 11, 2021 Edition  
     BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
      associate editor
      After receiving a variety of stories, a Boardman-based businessman did not sell his limited edition, 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk that he had sought to sell on Facebook Marketplace for $95,000.
      Ray McClelland, 30, of Lisbon Rd., Salem, of FTK Diesel and Performance, 762 Bev Rd., told police he had received a message on Facebook from a man who identified himself as Wayne James Robert, of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, who in the message agreed to purchase the Jeep for $92,500.
      “Robert called McClelland on Oct. 21 by telephone and agreed to transfer the funds to A&S Federal Credit Union, as McClelland requested,” Ptl. Stephen Dubos said, adding that when asked to provide a copy of his driver’s license in order to make a bill of sale, Robert declined, and instead told McClelland he lived at ‘8501 Beverly Lane, Florida.’
      Six days later, police were told that Robert made another call to McClelland, advising his driver, “Mike,” was on his way to get the vehicle.
      During that conversation, McClelland told “Mr. Robert” that he still needed to see his driver’s license, a signed proof of sale and a temporary tag to put on the vehicle. Robert countered, asking to use McClelland’s Ohio license plates.
      Robert then sent McClelland a picture of a Florida driver’s license, listing an address of 8501 Beverly Lane, St. Augustine, Fla.. However, the name on the license was not Wayne James Robert, it was Robert James Wayne, Ptl. Dubos said.
      McClelland then contacted his bank to verify funds from the sale of the Jeep had been transferred into his account from a Wells Fargo bank. The bank advised ‘this was unusual behavior for the account holder.’
      Ptl. Dubos said that McClelland then contacted law enforcement in St. Augustine, and was told that Robert James Wayne is a middle-aged white male, while the man McClelland had been speaking with is black.
      The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office informed McClelland, they had received reports of scams, where funds would appear to be in an account for a couple of days, but then get declined.
      On Oct. 27, about 11:30 a.m., police learned a man identified as Walter L. Holmes III showed-up at FTK Diesel and Performance to pick-up the Jeep.
      Upon arrival, ‘Holmes’ spoke with two employees, telling them he couldn’t believe ‘his dad was ‘making him do this,’ because he had to drive all the way back to Florida, then go to work that morning, while bragging about how the logistics company he worked for ‘flies him all over the place,’ Officer Dubos said.
      When Det. Ben Switka spoke with Holmes, he learned the man told the employees he was from Jackson, Miss. and was doing a favor for a friend named ‘Bruce,’ [also known as ‘Junior, and whom he had known for a ‘half year’]; and that Bruce never told him what kind of ‘car’ it was, or ‘where to take the car in Florida’.
      Officer Dubos told the detective that Holmes had airline tickets in a backpack that showed him flying to the Pittsburgh Airport, then taking an uber ride to Boardman. Also in the backpack was a cell phone that contained several phone calls to and from ‘Bruce,’ indicating the man used a Uniontown, Ky. location. In addition, the phone contained several pictures of McClelland’s Jeep.
      “[Holmes] then changed his story, stating he looked the Jeep up on Marketplace,” police said.
      In addition, inside the backpack, police found seven, $100 bills (marked for ‘Motion Picture Purposes Only’).
      “The money appeared real at first glance. Holmes said that someone working in the airport took his wallet and must have put them inside,” Officer Dubos said.
      Upon the advice of the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office, Holmes was released from custody, “gathered his belongings and left on foot.
      “He stated that he didn’t want the fake currency and left it behind,” Officer Dubos said.
      The deal for the Jeep was not finalized, as the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said their agency had contacted the ‘real’ Robert James Wayne, who advised he had checked his bank account and found no fraudulent activity and was unaware anyone was using his personal identification, Officer Dubos said.
      Wayne also told the Florida sheriff’s office he had received a letter from a motorcycle dealership in Louisiana notifying him they couldn’t approve the purchase of a motorcycle,
      “Wayne didn’t think much of it at the time, so he never reported the incident,” Officer Dubos said.
     
 
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