Former inmate sues friend for stealing while he was away

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 25, 2005, 12:00pm

A former inmate at the Menard Correctional Center in Chester filed suit against his friend in St. Clair County Circuit Court Oct. 18, alleging August Hiemer of Mascoutah stole personal items and money from him while he was in prison.

John Laird claims he was sentenced to serve from June 11, 2002, until April 2, 2003, at Menard and gave Hiemer, whom he had known 10 years, power of attorney so he could receive his social security and pension payments, and pay his bills.

According to the complaint, Laird has a checking account at Regions Bank, a Discover Credit Card and a bond refund worth $800.

Laird also claims he gave Hiemer temporary personal possession of personal property, including a 1996 Chevy pickup, a commercial lawn mower, tools and tool boxes.

“Hiemer agreed to hold Laird’s personal property for safekeeping during the period of his imprisonment, and agreed to use access to Laird’s funds and accounts in order to apply monthly income to Laird’s ongoing expenses and to deposit funds into Laird’s inmate account at Menard,” the complaint states.

He claims that when he attempted to retrieve his property after he was released, Hiemer failed to return itemes or provide an accounting of the personal property.

“Laird is of the reasonable belief that further efforts to obtain possession of his personal property from Hiemer would be unsuccessful and would result in a breach of the peace,” the complaint states.

According to Laird, while he was in prison, Hiemer:

  • Allowed a third party to drive his truck and in the course of the operation the truck was damaged and rendered inoperable;

  • Sold, bargained, or gave away a lawn mower and tools;

  • Withdrew over $6,000 in unauthorized debits;

  • Racked up $3,100 in credit card charges;

  • Withheld his bond refund.

    Represented by Brian McCarthy of Wimmer and Stiehl of Belleville, Laird is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 plus all costs of the suit.

    05 L 599 (20th Circuit)

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