Investigators never were able to recover the Firebird bought with a bogus check two years ago. The defendant said his estranged stepson has the car and title, but he can't remember the last time he talked to him.
"He never came up with the money he was supposed to," said defendant Jack D. Napier, 50, of Sullivan.
Napier, in early March, pleaded guilty one count of passing bad checks. In a plea deal, the state dismissed one count each of grand theft of a motor vehicle and failure to appear. Napier violated his bond by failing to show up for his Oct. 16 final pretrial hearing.
At Wednesday's hearing, Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway placed Napier on three years of probation and ordered him to pay $6,665 in restitution. He ruled Napier's probation officer has the discretion to impose a 60-day sentence in the Huron County Jail and requested Napier "make all efforts" to recover the car.
Napier's conviction is for an offense between March 16 and 30, 2011 when the victim had the Firebird for sale for $6,900. The defendant got the victim to lower the price to $6,500.
"I received the check and it bounced," the victim said Wednesday.
The Sherman Township man said he received another check, which also bounced, and Napier gave multiple excuses about not getting him the money.
"His last excuse was he was caught in a traffic jam on (U.S. 20)," said the victim, who saw someone driving the Firebird two years ago.
The victim expressed frustration at being in court for several hearings when Napier wasn't there.
"I've been here often. This is the first time I've seen him since he gave me the bad check," said the man, who also said the odds of receiving the restitution money are "slim to none."
Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said Napier never had any "realistic expectations" to pay for the car. He recommended the court impose a 120-day sentence.