Monongahela mayor charged with theft

December 11, 2012
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Mayor Robert Kepics

MONONGAHELA – The mayor of Monongahela was arrested Tuesday on a charge of theft over accusations he borrowed money last year from a New Eagle couple and hadn’t entirely paid off the debt.

Mayor Robert Kepics was remanded to the Washington County jail on $5,000 bond set by District Judge Mark Wilson after being arraigned on the charge brought in a private criminal complaint by John and Shirley Amon, the court record shows.

The Amons claimed they loaned Kepics $3,935 in April 2011 and had received three payments from him totaling only $1,600, the complaint indicates.

Wilson issued an arrest warrant for Kepics Tuesday, the same day the couple’s complaint was approved by Assistant Washington County District Attorney Josh Carroll, the record shows.

The Amons further claimed they exchanged letters this year with Kepics, and in one they received from him Jan. 11, he promised to pay off the loan in monthly installments if he couldn’t come up with what he owed them, the complaint indicates.

The first payment of $1,400 the couple received from Kepics was made Nov. 29, 2011, and at that time he promised to dip into his retirement savings to pay off the loan, according to the complaint.

“He never showed up or had the decency to call us,” the Amons stated in their complaint.

They wrote him a letter in January seeking to work out a payment plan and said they ended up getting just two additional $100 payments from him in August and September.

Kepics won his first term as mayor in 2007 and was re-elected last year. Prior to becoming mayor, he served several terms on Monongahela Council.

Pennsylvania court records indicate he posted bond later Tuesday and was released from jail.

In a telephone conversation Tuesday night, Kepics said he thought he had worked things out with the Amons and had even received a “thank you” letter from them after he made the last payment.

“I am not a thief,” he said. “I want to get this worked out and the charges dropped. This is a personal matter and has nothing to do with the city.”

Kepics said he retained former Washington County District Attorney Steve Toprani to represent him in the case.

Wilson scheduled Kepics to appear before him for a preliminary hearing at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 20.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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