A 47-year-old Killeen man was sentenced in the 264th Judicial District Court on Tuesday on a third-degree felony charge after a string of hot-check car thefts in 2017.
“Curtis Reuben Washington was sentenced to three years in prison,” said Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza.
Washington was charged with theft of property, more than $30,000 but less than $150,000, court records showed, after passing four bad checks worth a total amount of more than $83,000.
Washington was listed in the Bell County Jail as of Tuesday afternoon.
Killeen police began investigating Washington when they received a report on June 10, 2017, that a man had provided a personal check for more than $26,700 to purchase an orange Dodge Challenger, at a used car dealership in the 3300 block of East Central Texas Expressway, according to the arrest affidavit.
“Washington stated he would bring a cashier’s check two days after providing the personal check...but (he) never returned to” the dealership, police said. About two weeks later, the check was returned because of insufficient funds, and employees were unable to locate Washington at the address or phone number he provided.
On July 18, 2017, police found the orange car parked at a Killeen motel. The driver said he purchased the Dodge from Washington for $3,500.
On July 29, 2017, Killeen police responded to another car dealership, in the 4300 block of Stan Schlueter Loop. Washington used the same tactic, handing over a personal check for more than $19,400 to purchase a black GMC Yukon. The check was returned for insufficient funds and the buyer could not be located, police said.
The next day, officers found the vehicle, which had numerous scratches. Police knocked on the door of the home and made contact with Washington, who was arrested on warrants, according to the affidavit.
Less than two months later, detectives responded to a car dealership in Killeen located in the 3600 block of East Central Texas Expressway. The owner said Washington, on Sept. 8, 2017, purchased a Jeep Wrangler “outright” with a personal check for more than $19,900, police said. The vehicle later was located at a Killeen body shop.
Police said Washington used the same tactic on Sept. 13, 2017, at another dealership in Killeen, where he bought a Polaris Slingshot motorcycle with a personal check of more than $17,300. The motorcycle had not been located as of May 2018, according to the affidavit.
Washington has 11 felony and misdemeanor convictions in Texas, dating back to 2010, for theft, burglary and forgery, for which he served five prison terms, according to Texas Department of Public Safety records.