LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville man who said he paid $53,000 for a food truck that was never delivered may not be the only victim.
Russell Elwood Hunnewell, 61, of Avon Park, Fla., faces a felony theft charge for allegedly failing to deliver the food truck to Steven Fay last year. The indictment followed an investigation by Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear's office.
Now, a Florida woman claims she lost nearly $17,000 to Hunnewell in a deal involving another food truck months earlier.
"He made my life a living nightmare," said 37-year-old Cynetress Davis, of Jacksonville.
In March 2015, Davis said she and her husband Alastair paid Hunnewell a $16,917 deposit to build out a food truck they already owned. Hunnewell signed a contract with the Davises to equip the food truck with a stove, sink and refrigerator and make it functional and ready for business.
Davis said the couple took out loans and dipped into their 401K to come up with the money. But she said when the couple went to pick up their food truck on the agreed-upon completion date, virtually none of the work had been done.
Hunnewell told the Davises he wanted another $8,000 to complete the build. The couple refused, took their food truck home, and filed a report with the Volusia Country Sheriffs Department in an effort to get their $16,917 back from Hunnewell.
Shortly after that happened, Hunnewell cut off communication. Phone numbers used by Hunnewell are no longer in service and not receiving messages.
"There are days I have to break down and cry and reach out to God for encouragement to keep going," Davis said. "My kids didn't have Christmas. My family had to give us food. He really hurt me."
Back in Louisville, Fay told WAVE 3 News he attempted to purchase the food truck from Hunnewell on the behalf of the company he works for, although he did not provide the name of the company.
Hunnewell is scheduled for arraignment in Jefferson County Circuit Court at 11 a.m. on Monday, although he is not yet in custody. The AG's office said it will issue arrest warrants and hope to locate Hunnewell before then.
"Consumers should be careful making large purchases over the Internet," Beshear said in an email to WAVE 3 News. "People engaging in such transactions should inspect any major product before making payment, and should receive possession at the time of any final payment. And, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is."
Beshear urged buyers to take their time and ask questions when making a major purchase over the Internet. Ask about the location of the business, make sure websites are secure and authentic, and ask to meet the seller and inspect the vehicle ahead of time. Consumers should obtain a written copy of any guarantee or warranty and verify the seller's refund, return and cancellation policies.
"It is recommended to always research a business online and check with the Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau for any complaints," Beshear wrote. "Making sure the company is registered and is in good standing with the Secretary of State can also help to uncover potential concerns."
Hunnewell is not charged with any crimes in Florida.