He volunteered to replace a catalytic converter for a woman who was driving his children to school, but his generosity nearly killed three people. On Monday, the “soup can mechanic” was arrested and charged with a felony. (See related story)
David Justin Roper, 31, of 2366 S. Lake Sharon Rd., Warsaw, has been charged with D felony theft for allegedly returning auto parts and keeping the money. The Kosciusko County Prosecutor’s Office said this morning that a second charge, a Class B misdemeanor, of criminal recklessness, was also filed against Roper.
The second charge alleges, “(Roper) did recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally perform an act that created a substantial risk of bodily injury to another person.”
Warsaw Police investigated the case against Roper that began on Oct. 12 when April McCool of Warsaw called 911 to report a 3-year-old child unresponsive and her 8-year-old daughter unable to walk due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Police found a soup can and some burned duct tape under McCool’s van where the new catalytic converter should have been. The police report indicated the old converter had been spray painted to appear new.
McCool told StaceyPageOnline.com that Roper said he would fix her van for a pack of cigarettes as a favor for her driving his children to and from school. All she had to do was buy all of the new parts and let him have the old catalytic converter to scrap. McCool agreed and said she spent approximately $100 at a local auto parts store on a new catalytic converter, filter, clamps and an extension pipe. None of the parts McCool purchased were found on her van.
During the investigation, Roper initially told police he returned the auto parts and gave McCool her money back. She denied that claim and said she was relieved when police told her a witness came forward and said Roper did not return McCool’s money. Instead, he used an old soup can and some duct tape to make the repair, he returned the parts for cash and kept the money.
In the probable cause affidavit, Roper also admitted to the investigating officer he did return the parts and keep the cash.
Roper was being held on a $1,500 bond.