Jeremy Alford, 33, and Jessica Alford, 26, last known address, 306 E. Bertsch St., Lansford, have been charged following an incident which took place between April 15 and Aug. 19 at 306 E. Bertsch St., Lansford.
Felony charges of theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, criminal mischief, and criminal conspiracy were filed by Det./Sgt. Jack Soberick.
Anyone who knows of their whereabouts is asked to contact police at (570) 645-5844. All calls will be kept confidential.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, here's what happened:
Soberick was assigned to investigate and review a complex, ongoing allegation of theft and criminal mischief at a rental property in the borough. the victim, Wayne E. Bachert, owns the property, at 306 E. Bertsch St., a double home divided into three apartments.
Bachert entered into a rental/lease-to-own agreement with the Alfords on Dec. 13, 2011. The notarized contract spells out what is to be done by the seller and buyer, including costs, method of payment. the contract also requires the Alfords to submit plans for improvements or alterations to Bachert in writing, and that they conform with construction laws and regulations. The contract also prohibits the lease or subletting of the property without Bachert's written consent.
As of May 2012, the Alfords had fallen behind in their payments. Bachert received a judgement for nonpayment on May 29, and pursued eviction through Carbon County Court.
Meanwhile, the Alfords continued to live in the home.
In Aug. 2012, Bachert was finally able to get inside the property, only to find that the it destroyed inside and items missing from the house and a garage. He also found two people living on the third floor. Soberick inspected the property, and found an empty shell, with almost everything removed, down to the studs. There were holes in the floor, all the wiring was removed, the heating and water systems were gone. Police have since learned some of the metal was sold for scrap to a Pottsville recycling center.
Bachert estimates about $73,195 in damages and stolen property.
Efforts were made to have the Alfords come to the police station to tell their side of the story, but they moved away and have not contacted police. In mid-November, telephone contact was made with Jeremy Alford, who denied doing anything other than trying to remodel the building. He said other people came in and stole the items and did the damage.