Val-U Car owner arrested on grand theft auto, forgery charges
Published: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 3:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 3:32 p.m.
The owner of Val-U Car was arrested Monday evening after police say he forged a customer's contract and then charged at the customer's father when the father tried to call his attorney.
Gainesville Police Department officers said the 29-year-old customer took his car to the business on North Main Street a month ago to have it sold on commission. On Dec. 4, he and his 60-year-old father returned to the business at 12:57 p.m. to retrieve the vehicle because it had not been sold, the police report said.
The owner of Val-U Car, Demetri Leonidas Indianos, 61, of 6218 SW 37th Way, told the customer he had to pay a $599 fee in order to get the vehicle back and that the victim had signed a contract agreeing to do this. The customer said he told Indianos he had never signed a contract agreeing to pay that amount and asked Indianos to provide them with a copy of that agreement, the report said.
When Indianos brought out the alleged contract, the customer said he had not signed it and that his name was misspelled on the document. In another spot, the signature was copied, the report said.
The customer and his father told Indianos they were going to call the police and their attorney to show them a copy of the allegedly forged document. When the customer's father stepped outside with the document and called his attorney, Indianos demanded the document be returned to him, the report said.
Police said Indianos then charged at the father, repeatedly pushing him against a vehicle and grabbing papers from the man's right front pocket, which resulted in the father's front-right pocket being torn, the report said.
The customer said he tried to intervene between his father and Indianos, but several employees pushed him away and down the stairs. The customer and his father said they were able to get away and left the business, the report said.
Officers said Indianos fled the scene before police arrived and refused to return. The customer said that before police arrived, the business moved his vehicle from the front of the lot to an unknown location and refused to give him the car, according to the police report.
When police searched the business the next day, they found a torn-up copy of the allegedly forged contract in an employee's trash can, six copies in the manager's office by the copy machine and 19 copies inside Indianos' desk. Some of the documents had copies of the victim's signature taped and stapled to blank contracts, and the original contract signed by the victim was found by police with no fee mentioned, police said.
The victim's vehicle also was found inside one of the garages on the property. On Monday, police arrested Indianos at the business, the report said.
Indianos was arrested on charges of grand theft auto, simple battery, forgery, tampering with evidence, uttering a forged instrument and scheme to defraud, according to the police report. He was released from the Alachua County jail Tuesday morning after paying a $22,500 bond.
Indianos could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
Police said they believe there might be more victims from Val-U Car and are encouraging anyone with more information to contact GPD detectives at 393-7670.