By PETER KASPARI
Messenger staff writer
A man who allegedly stole from two Fort Dodge car dealers has been arrested and is now facing four charges, including two felonies.
Christopher O. Schulte, 27, is accused of taking a 2004 Ford Explorer from Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota on Feb. 18, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Webster County attorney's office. He wrote a $4,000 check as a down payment on the vehicle, but according to the complaint, the check Schulte wrote was from a closed bank account.
The complaint alleges he knew the money would not be paid to the dealership.
Five days later, on Feb. 23, Schulte allegedly drove the Explorer through mud and water along Avenue B in Fort Dodge and eventually hit something that caused about $7,500 in damage to the Explorer.
On Tuesday, Schulte took a 2006 Jeep Cherokee Limited for a test drive from Lee's Used Cars, according to the complaint. Schulte was told to return the vehicle before the dealership closed at 5:30 p.m. that day, but he didn't.
Schulte was arrested and charged with first-degree theft, second-degree criminal mischief and operating a motor vehicle without the owner's consent. He is also charged with simple misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
He made his initial appearance in Webster County Magistrate Court on Thursday morning. During his hearing, Magistrate Judge Steve Kersten ordered Schulte held on $17,000 bond on the two felonies and aggravated misdemeanor. Kersten said Schulte can be released on his own recognizance for the simple misdemeanor.
A no-contact order between Schulte and Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota was also issued.
Schulte's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
Contact Peter Kaspari at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org