Saturday, July 11, 2015
Convicted fugitive Doylestown contractor nabbed in South Carolina
Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2015
A convicted Doylestown home improvement contractor on the run since 2013 has been apprehended in South Carolina where he was working as a contractor, law enforcement authorities confirmed.
Steve Dunner, 37, was picked up Saturday night outside a restaurant after law enforcement received a tip that he was wanted in Pennsylvania, said Capt. Bob Bromage of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina. Dunner was living in Hilton Head Island and using the alias Steve “Buck” Cordano, Bromage said.
He was also running a drywall and painting business, he added. There were no known consumer complaints filed against Dunner as of Tuesday, but further investigation was planned.
The Bucks County Sheriff’s Office has indicated that Dunner has waived extradition and will be transported back to Pennsylvania where he also faces additional charges of failure to appear in court and flight to avoid apprehension, both third-degree felonies, Bucks County Assistant District Attorney A. J. Garabedian said.
Dunner, the former owner of Doylestown Roofing and Siding, fled Bucks County, disappearing while free on unsecured bail following his 2012 conviction for home improvement contractor-related fraud. He pleaded guilty to bilking three Upper Bucks customers out of more than $28,000 while on probation after pleading guilty to defrauding customers less than a year earlier. The customers paid Dunner deposits for work that he never performed.
Bucks County Judge Albert Cepparulo sentenced Dunner to two to 10 years in state prison, but Dunner tried unsuccessfully to withdraw his plea, then he appealed his conviction.
Cepparulo released Dunner on $100,000 unsecured bail while the appeal was pending. Among the conditions of bail, Dunner was supposed to live with his girlfriend in Warrington. He was ordered to maintain full-time employment but was banned from being self-employed.
In November 2013 a state court denied Dunner’s appeal, and prosecutors filed a motion to have him returned to prison. But Dunner failed to show up for a December hearing, and police couldn’t find him.
At his 2012 sentencing Cepparulo said he gave Dunner the state prison time because he flaunted the law by bilking customers, even while he was on probation for a previous contractor fraud conviction.
The judge said he also took into consideration the fact that Dunner lied to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office in an attempt to get registered — a requirement under the state’s 2009 home improvement contractor law, saying he’d never been convicted of a crime.
Court records show that Dunner also had previous brushes with the law starting in 1996 when he pleaded guilty to theft and burglary and was sentenced to 11 to 23 months in the county prison plus two years of probation. In June 2008, and again in October 2008, Dunner pleaded guilty to passing bad checks. Both times, he was sentenced to two years of probation.
Dunner was on probation for a contractor-related fraud conviction in 2011 when he was arrested in 2012. After his second conviction, Bucks County Consumer Protection Office obtained a court order to keep Dunner off the state contractor registry.