Parkway Motors salesman Jim Blackner has decided it's just as well he didn't make another visit to collect from customers Sante and Kenneth Kimes.
Sante, 63, and her son Kenneth, 23, who police say bilked the Cedar City car dealership out of a 1997 Lincoln Town Car, were arrested Sunday in New York City on a Utah warrant for communications fraud.Besides the charges for issuing a bad check for $14,973.50 to Parkway Motors, police departments in New York City, Los Angeles and in the Bahamas are investigating the Kimeses for possible involvement in a murder and suspicious disappearances.
"People they've been dealing with are coming up dead," Blackner said. "I was going to go down to Las Vegas to see them about payment for the last car they bought here, but maybe it's a good thing it fell through."
Blackner first met the Kimeses about eight years ago.
"All of the cars they traded in to me were legitimate, no problem, and the first two checks they gave us for their cars were fine," he said.
Last March Sante called and purchased the Lincoln Town Car.
"The check was written on an account that was frozen in Las Vegas," Blackner said. "The account was in another person's name. First she told me she had given me the wrong check. Then, she kept promising me she'd make good on the check."
In April, Cedar City police were called into the matter. Their investigation led to Los Angeles.
"She said she had a home in Beverly Hills and that I was welcome to visit there any time," Blackner said. "I didn't deliver the Lincoln to her, I had a driver take it. But, instead of taking the car to the house, she had him deliver it to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel."
The Cedar City investigation prompted the Los Angeles Police Department to look into the Kimeses, who they now want to question about the death of David Kadzin, whose body was found in a trash container at Los Angeles International Airport earlier this year.
New York police are investigating the connection between the Kimeses and the disappearance of 82-year-old socialite Irene Silverman, who was reported missing Sunday.
And, police in the Bahamas believe there's a connection between the Kimeses and a banker missing there.
Blackner said it was only recently that he had extensive dealings with Sante and that during the two previous transactions he dealt primarily with her husband.
"I went down to their home four times," he said. "They lived in a nice house in an upscale part of Las Vegas, near the Sahara Hotel Golf Course."
He said he spoke with Sante as recently as two weeks ago.
"She was still promising to make good on the check and, in fact, wanted me to get her a black Cadillac for her son," Blackner said.
He said he was surprised when he learned that both Sante and Kenneth Jr. had long arrest records.
"I was comfortable enough with these people that they had my home address and telephone number. This is the kind of thing that makes me lock my doors at night," he said.