Auto shop

Auto shop owner Pe Ell faces felony charge for allegedly squirting paint thinner on client’s vehicles

By Emily Fitzgerald / [email protected]

A Chehalis man who runs an auto shop in Pe Ell faces felony charges for allegedly throwing paint thinner at six vehicles in the 1300 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia on Monday.

Dakota Solomon Earl Ingram, 37, is charged with ‘driving (by) and squirting paint thinner’ on six vehicles belonging to the alleged victim after he allegedly refused to pay Ingram more money for a paint job that Ingram had completed.

The alleged victim told police he paid Ingram, who runs a store in Pe Ell, $500 to paint a 1965 Chevrolet. But when he went to pick up the vehicle, Ingram allegedly “demanded more money ” and allegedly texted him “requesting speakers and/or another vehicle as payment.”

Ingram allegedly sent a text message “threatening to put paint stripper” on one of the victim’s vehicles, according to court documents.

The victim then received a text from Ingram “with an emoji of two shaking hands” that meant “they were even,” according to court documents. After receiving this message, the alleged victim got out, saw his damaged vehicles and called the police, according to court documents.

A Centralia Police Department officer responded to the alleged victim’s address just after 11:30 p.m. on July 18 and noticed that “the paint (on the cars) was starting to peel off where the substance had contacted it.” , according to court documents.

The alleged victim estimated that the cost to restore the six vehicles would exceed $5,000.

Police used surveillance video of the victim’s property to identify the suspect vehicle, and a Washington State Patrol trooper conducted a traffic stop early Tuesday morning.

The officer identified Ingram as the driver and arrested him for driving with a suspended license. Ingram was taken to the Lewis County Jail just before 1:50 a.m. on July 19 and has since been charged with one count of first-degree malicious mischief, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Judge J. Andrew Toynbee set Ingram’s bail at $10,000 during a preliminary hearing in Lewis County Superior Court on Tuesday.

Assistant District Attorney Brad Meagher recommended this amount due to concerns about Ingram’s criminal history and fears that Ingram would interfere with witnesses.

Ingram allegedly tried to contact a prison witness after his arrest, according to Meagher.

While Ingram’s attorney asked Toynbee to give Ingram an unsecured bond, Toynbee elected to set $10,000 bond “to deal with this non-appearance risk and also to prevent interference in the administration of justice or the intimidation of a witness”.

Ingram’s next court appearance is an arraignment hearing scheduled for Thursday, July 28.