The Panama City Police Department announces the arrest of William E. Smith, 43 years of age. Smith was arrested at approximately 4:00 p.m., on August 1, 2012, following an investigation of grand theft of over $40,000.00 from a local business.
The investigation began on July 11, 2012 after employees of Pick and Pull Auto Salvage detected the ongoing thefts. Panama City Police detectives worked with the employees to identify Smith as the suspect. Smith was an employee of Pick and Pull and the buyer of vehicles who traveled the southeast region purchasing scrap vehicles for the business.
Detectives established that in some of the purchases made by Smith, he would arrange payment in the form of checks from Pick and Pull for the purchase of numerous vehicles from businesses that were fictitious. Pick and Pull never received the scrap vehicles that were purchased through Smith in these cases. The checks were cashed through the fictitious business as arranged by Smith.
Smith was arrested and booked into the Bay County Jail on the charges of ongoing scheme to defraud and grand theft. This investigation is ongoing and more arrests in this case are expected.
If you have any information in reference to this incident please contact Detective McLaughlin at the Panama City Police Department, 850-872-3112 or you can report your tips anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 850-785-TIPS.
Information provided by the Panama City Police Department