by Kristin Casale
Munroe Falls -- James R. Calabris, the former owner of Jim's Jalopys who was accused of selling more than 20 vehicles without paying the original owners, pleaded guilty to aggravated theft Friday.
Calabris, who owned the now-closed Jim's Jalopys at 301 S. Main St., pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated theft, both third-degree felonies, before Summit County Court of Common Pleas Judge Patricia Cosgrove, according to the Summit County Prosecutor's Office.
Lawrence Whitney, Calabris' attorney, could not be reached for comment by press time.
According to Prosecutor's Office Spokesperson Laurie Cramer, Calabris did not pay for approximately $130,000 worth of vehicles that belonged to automobile wholesale dealers.
Calabris then sold those vehicles to patrons of his establishment, that resulted in a total approximate loss of $120,000 to his business customers, according to information from Cramer.
"The state agreed to a sentence of five years in prison, which will be suspended provided the defendant presents a restitution plan and a substantial payment toward that restitution at the time of sentencing Feb. 27 [at 11:30 a.m. before Cosgrove]," a release from Cramer stated.
The business, which opened in October 2004, closed in April 2006 shortly after charges were filed against Calabris, according to Munroe Falls Police Chief Scott Bellinger.
According to Bellinger, Calabris sold 26 vehicles to customers who said they never received the vehicle titles.
According to Bellinger, Calabris obtained the vehicles from wholesale dealers, agreeing to pay them at a later date.
Bellinger said Calabris sold the vehicles to other parties and never paid the dealers.