Scott Depeter, 43, owner of Airport Auto Body on Main Street, was arrested January 22 and charged with theft by deception, according to York County Sheriff Bill King. When the news broke, King asked that anyone who felt they’d been scammed by Depeter contact the sheriff ’s office.
On Monday, January 25, King reported that eight people had contacted Sanford Regional Communications, which provides dispatch services for the sheriff ’s office.
“All report they were defrauded in some way by Scott, also known as Thomas, Depeter,” said Deputy Shawn Sanborn, who is investigating the Illinois case. “Complaints were distributed (for investigation) between the York County Sheriff ’s Office and Sanford Police Department, depending on where the offense was alleged to have taken place.”
Sanborn said additional complaints were anticipated over the next few days.
The initial investigation began when an Illinois man contacted the sheriff ’s office and reported that he wired $300 to Depeter after answering an ad on Craigslist, but never received the auto parts he ordered.
The sheriff ’s office collected numerous text messages from the victim and confirmed that a wire transfer was made, King said.
“Depeter came up with excuse after excuse after excuse,” and “finally stopped responding to calls or emails from the Illinois man,” he said.
Depeter is free on $350 bail, and is scheduled to appear in court April 26 on the initial charge of theft by deception, a Class E misdemeanor.
King cautions that folks should be wary about paying for merchandise by wiring money, as it is untraceable.
As well, Craigslist advises users not to pay for items with money-wiring services, and to refrain from revealing bank account numbers and other financial information. The website states that “99 percent of scam attempts” can be avoided by dealing locally through face-to-face transactions.
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