Operator of auto lease firm indicted First charges are brought under new state leasing law.

November 18, 1991|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Evening Sun Staff

A Howard County man was arrested today and charged with the theft of 130 motor vehicles and three boats while he operated an automobile leasing company.

State police picked up Peter M. Stiltz, 49, at his Columbia home after indictments were unsealed in Baltimore County charging him with the thefts and 25 counts of violating the state motor vehicle subleasing law.

Assistant Attorney General Karen J. Kruger said the state recommended a $100,000 bail on the suspect.

The state police investigation began after the receipt of information from the Motor Vehicle Administration.

Kruger said the charges date to July 1, 1990 when Stiltz owned Automotive Brokers and A & A Auto Rental and Leasing, both then in the 5600 block of Baltimore National Pike. He also owned Columbia Leasing Advantage on Guilford Road, but the charges filed today were not linked to that location.

Kruger said Stiltz is charged with stealing 130 motor vehicles in which both his customers and a variety of lien-holders have ownership interest. Also, he is charged with stealing three boats in which lien-holders have held interests.

The 25 subleasing charges, Kruger said, are based on a Maryland law that became effective July 1, 1990. The indictment of Stiltz is the first major prosecution stemming from this statute, he said.

The law was designed to address the problem of the subleasing motor vehicles in which a lien-holder has an interest.

If convicted, Stiltz faces a maximum penalty of 15 years for each theft charge and 3 years for each of the subleasing offenses. A trial date has not been set, the attorney general's office said.

Any consumer who had business dealings with Stiltz can call a special number at the attorney general's office, 576-6391.

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