Embattled auctioneer wanted in Pennsylvania

Embattled former Indiana auction house owner Dean V. Kruse faces an arrest warrant out of Pennsylvania alleging that he never paid a man $38,000 for selling an antique hearse at auction in 2008.

DeKalb County Sheriff Don Lauer told The Herald Republican of Angola on Tuesday that his department has a warrant for Kruse's arrest on a felony theft count issued in Dauphin County, Pa. Lauer said the warrant had not been served as of Tuesday afternoon.

"When we get an opportunity, we will go and try and get it served," he said.

A message seeking comment was left Tuesday by The Associated Press at an Auburn telephone number listed for Kruse, and Lauer did not return a message left by the AP. The Herald Republican reported that the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office filed the criminal complaint Monday.

Kruse, 69, hosted classic car auctions for nearly four decades in Auburn, about 130 miles northeast of Indianapolis, until his Indiana license was suspended last year. 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.

Pennsylvania court records indicate that 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 is owed for the sale.

Along with suspending Kruse's auctioneer's license, Indiana also stripped his former Auburn-based auction house Kruse International of its license, which let the business conduct 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.

Last year, Kruse sold the auction house to Auctions America by RM.

Kruse has been sued repeatedly in recent years for business practices that include not releasing funds to vehicle consigners or vehicle titles to purchasers.

Chris Schmidt, a deputy district attorney in Dauphin County, told the Herald-Republican that the hearse case was investigated by police in Derry Township, which is near Hershey, Pa.

Schmidt said that if Kruse is arrested or surrenders to Indiana authorities, he could face extradition to Pennsylvania to answer the charges. He said the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office makes the decision on whether to extradite a suspect on a case-by-case basis.

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