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Woman averts prison in theft-ring role

Involved in plot to steal, resell cycles; probation ordered

– A 33-year-old Fort Wayne woman was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution for her role in making a fake bill of sale as part of a motorcycle theft ring.

Angela Ruth Martin, of the 2800 block of Hillegas Road, pleaded guilty Thursday in Allen Superior Court to a charge of counterfeiting. Originally, prosecutors charged Martin with corrupt business influence, but that more serious charge was dismissed as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

On Thursday, Martin admitted to creating a false bill of sale last July.

She was one of a number of people arrested after an investigation into a local motorcycle theft ring.

Todd A. Vonderau, 41, of the 2600 block of Hillegas Road, is charged with corrupt business influence and conspiracy to remove, alter or cover an identification number. Both counts are Class C felonies punishable by three to eight years in prison.

Also charged was Alan G. Baysinger, 42, of the 3400 block of Hoagland Avenue. He faces charges of corrupt business influence and removing, covering or altering vehicle identification numbers.

Others charged included Richard L. Schlatter, 35, of the 1600 block of Steup Avenue; Richard Carl King, 36, of the 2000 block of Emerson Avenue; and Jerrad W. Impton, 39, of the 2500 block of Hillegas Road.

In late August, police began to investigate whether Vonderau was operating a motorcycle theft ring at his car lot, Kasper Auto Sales, 2750 Brooklyn Ave.

The motorcycles were stolen and sold after being repainted and sometimes fitted with a vehicle identification number belonging to a different motorcycle, court records said.

Documents were created through the auto lot, such as fraudulent bills of sale, to make it appear as though the motorcycles were legitimately bought. When police searched addresses connected to the thefts, they found a number of stolen vehicles, including motorcycles, a tow truck and cars, according to court documents.

Baysinger told police that Vonderau was the leader of the criminal ring and that Vonderau paid him $200 to change the vehicle identification number plates on the vehicles.

He said he was also paid a finder’s fee for identifying motorcycles later stolen by Impton, Schlatter or himself, according to court documents.

The charge of corrupt business influence accuses the group of participating in the activities of a criminal enterprise through a pattern of racketeering, in this case involving two or more acts of receiving stolen property.

King was pulled over for speeding in July. The motorcycle he was riding had a vehicle identification number that did not match the motorcycle’s license plate.

Later, Martin showed up at a tow lot to reclaim the bike, presenting documentation that the motorcycle was being repossessed by Kasper Auto Sales.

Her records contained the mismatched vehicle identification number, according to court documents.

In February, Baysinger was sentenced to pay more than $38,000 in restitution and given a two-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to corrupt business influence. He is also serving time for receiving stolen auto parts.

This month, Schlatter was sentenced to two years on work release and two years of probation on a charge of corrupt business influence. He must repay more than $35,000 in restitution.

Impton and Vonderau are scheduled to stand trial in April. King is scheduled for a jury trial in June.