Former auction house owner Dean V. Kruse surrendered to northern Indiana authorities Wednesday to face a theft charge out of Pennsylvania alleging that he never paid a man $38,000 for selling an antique hearse.
The Herald Republican of Angola reported that Kruse, 69, was released Wednesday afternoon from the DeKalb County Jail in Auburn after posting a $5,000 bond. He had appeared in court earlier.
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.
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.
Grimm assured the court that Kruse would be present for his extradition hearing.
After the hearing, Shively said deputies took Kruse to the jail for processing and to post his bond.
A Pennsylvania court issued a warrant for Kruse's arrest after prosecutors in that state's Dauphin County filed a criminal complaint Monday 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 stripped Kruse's auctioneer's license and the license of his former Auburn-based auction house, Kruse International. Kruse conducted popular classic auto auctions at the site about 20 miles north of Fort Wayne. Other buildings on the 110-acre site auctioned off collectibles, firearms and other items.
Kruse later sold the auction house to Auctions America by RM.