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Litchfield man charged with theft of car he was hired to restore

WILLMAR — Richard James Graf, 43, of Litchfield, made his first court appearance Monday in Kandiyohi County District Court on felony charges of theft and theft of a motor vehicle.

He was released on his own recognizance. His next court date is April 10.

According to court records, Graf agreed to restore a 1968 Torino GT convertible for a person identified in the court file as Victim A. The vehicle was delivered to Graf's business, Custom Graf X Auto Customizing in Willmar, in February 2015. They agreed that the work would be finished by Nov. 1, 2016.

In 2015 and 2016, the car owner allegedly sent Graf checks totaling $19,350 for the work and purchased parts worth another $1,585. The parts were shipped to Graf's business.

The car owner reported that Graf would become angry when updates and photographs were requested. In December 2015, he hired a Willmar attorney for assistance. The attorney saw the car in April 2016, but neither he nor his client have seen it since, according to the court file.

After Graf's business was evicted from its Willmar location, the car could not be found.

According to the criminal complaint, these is no evidence any work was done on the car, and its location is unknown.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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