BARTOW — If you wanted to buy a car, would you travel from West Virginia to Polk County, Florida to find one? One West Virginia man did, and he’s now being extradited back to Polk County to face Grand Theft charges.
The reason: the Polk County Sheriff’s Office says the suspect, Jake Ernest Boswell Jr., wrote a check for the car, then cancelled it as soon as he got back to West Virginia.
“We’re not sure what this guy was thinking, except maybe that his new Corvette would be fast enough for him to get away,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Still, he added that Boswell could run but he couldn’t hide, and that this case is a sober reminder that simply leaving the state of Florida doesn’t mean the law can’t catch up with you.
“It doesn’t matter where you go once you steal from someone in our county,” Judd said. “We will investigate, we will issue a warrant, and we will find you.”
On March 13, deputies in Mercer County, West Virginia arrested Boswell, 31, on a Polk County Warrant for several felony charges, including grand theft, obtaining a vehicle by fraud, and writing a worthless check. According to Carrie Horstman, the public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Boswell fraudulently purchased a Corvette from Kelley Buick GMC in Bartow in 2017, then left the state.
It started a year ago, on March 20, 2017. According to the sheriff’s report, “Boswell purchased the black 2015 Corvette from the dealership for $63,703, after writing a $6,000 check for a down payment on his business account, J&J Paving and Asphalt, LLC,'” Horstman noted. “Boswell agreed to finance the remaining amount, $57,703, through Ally Financial. Boswell showed the dealership his West Virginia driver’s license, and the bank from which the check he wrote was from a First Century Bank of Princeton, West Virginia account.”
However, Boswell — who loaded the Corvette onto a trailer and left — apparently decided four days later to place a stop payment order on the check. A Kelley Buick employee called Boswell, “who told him that the car had mechanical issues so he stopped payment on the check,” Horstman noted. “When the employee reminded him the car was under warranty and he should bring it in to be serviced, but that they still needed the $6,000 that was owed to them, Boswell became uncooperative, and they were unable to reach him again.”
Polk detectives issued an investigative subpoena to Boswell’s bank in West Virginia, and found he only had $2,094.65 in his account when he wrote the check. The day the stop payment was placed on the check, there was $3,128.83 in his account, far below the $6,000 in the check he wrote.
“The suspect schemed to defraud the victim by issuing a check from an account that did not have sufficient funds available when written, and did not have the funds available,” the detective’s report noted. “The suspect then intentionally cancelled the check on March 24, 2017, before the check could reach his financial institution for payment.”
Boswell was arrested, booked into the West Virginia Regional Jail & Correctional facility in Charleston, and is expected to be extradited to Polk County soon.