Former classic car auctioneer and auction house owner Dean V. Kruse surrendered to northern Indiana authorities Aug. 31 to face a theft charge. According to reports, the felony charge comes out of Pennsylvania, alleging that Kruse never paid a man $38,000 for selling an antique hearse. The Herald Republican of Angola reported that Kruse, 69, was released that same afternoon from the DeKalb County Jail in Auburn after posting a $5,000 bond. He had appeared in court earlier. The Herald Republican relayed that Kruse’s attorney, Margaret Grimm, asked DeKalb Superior Court Judge Kevin Wallace to release Kruse on his own recognizance, calling him a respected “pillar of the community.”

“This matter in Pennsylvania is dealing with a corporate thing which Mr. Kruse is not personally liable for,” Grimm said. “We will be proceeding with a vigorous defense of Mr. Kruse.” DeKalb County chief deputy prosecutor Donald P. Shively told the judge he was opposed to Kruse being released on his own recognizance, but that he would accept whatever the court decided, the newspaper reported.

Court records indicate Wallace agreed to release Kruse, set a $5,000 bond and ordered him to remain in the United States pending an Oct. 28 extradition hearing. Earlier this week, a Pennsylvania court issued a warrant for Kruse’s arrest after Dauphin County prosecutors filed a criminal complaint Aug. 29 accusing Kruse of theft. Pennsylvania court records indicate Kruse is charged with theft by failure to make required disposition of funds. The records allege that in October 2008, John Bosk transported a 1919 Sayers and Scoville Hearse to the Hershey Auto Auction for sale.

Bosk contracted with Kruse International for an auction and sale, with Dean Kruse as the auctioneer. The selling price was $43,000 and Kruse took a 10 percent fee for selling the car. The complaint alleges that Kruse never paid Bosk the $38,000 he’s owed for the sale.

The allegation is the latest legal trouble for Kruse, who has been sued repeatedly in recent years for business practices that include not releasing funds to vehicle consigners or vehicle titles to purchasers. Last year, Indiana suspended Kruse’s auctioneer’s license and stripped his former Auburn-based auction house Kruse International of its license. Kruse hosted classic car auctions for nearly four decades in Auburn, about 130 miles northeast of Indianapolis. Auctions that he staged each Labor Day weekend drew tens of thousands of visitors who watched bidders compete to buy rare and classic autos, including cars once owned by Clark Cable, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.

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