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Emily Welker, Published March 07 2014

Moorhead man faces theft charge in alleged truck repair scam

MOORHEAD – A Moorhead man is charged with felony theft after he allegedly agreed to do discount mechanic work on another man’s truck, then sold the truck for scrap and continued charging the man for the work.

Kyle Herman Hilde, 45, was charged Thursday in Clay County District Court with a pair of felony theft charges.

According to court documents filed with the case, Moorhead police were contacted by West Fargo police on Jan. 27 on a report that Hilde had offered to fix the engine on a man’s 1998 Chevy truck for less money than an Audubon, Minn., shop was asking for the same work.

Hilde told the man he could do the job for $350 for the motor and $250 for installation. The owner of the truck gave Hilde $600 in cash, and Hilde picked up the truck from Audubon in February 2013.

In April, court documents allege, the man learned his truck had been sold for scrap, but Hilde continued to contact him and told him the truck would also need a new transmission.

When the victim asked when the work would be done, Hilde delayed returning the truck and eventually stopped answering his calls.

A West Fargo officer spoke with the person who bought the truck, who said his driver had picked it up from Hilde in Moorhead on March 27, 2013, and had a receipt describing the truck as “abandoned.”

The truck had been stripped of anything usable, the buyer said, including its engine, transmission, transfer case and interior items. The West Fargo officer spoke with Hilde, who at first denied having any connection with the truck.

Court documents say Hilde changed his story, allegedly admitting to the officer he’d gotten $150 for work on the truck but saying that he hadn’t heard from the owner.

His first court appearance is set for April 1.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541