New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | December 15, 2017

Charles City man convicted for stealing boat engines

By Andre Jones | September 15, 2017 1:54 pm

A Charles City man that stole boat motors has been found guilty on three felony charges.

Dallis Leno Wallace Jr., 48, of the 7800 block of Lewis Tyler Lane, was rendered verdicts of guilt on one count each of grand larceny, intent to sell stolen property, and felony destruction of property during a Sept. 15 contested trial in Charles City Circuit Court.

On May 1, Christian Hager returned to his property and noticed Suzuki engines were cut out of each of the boats that he owned. After notifying police, he called John Hoffmeyer, a local business owner who works on boats in the county.

“I knew he dealt with boat engines and repairs,” testified Hager. “I asked him to be on the lookout for them.”

Hoffmeyer testified that prior to receiving Hager’s call, he had an interaction with Wallace.

“He [Wallace] flagged me on the side of the road and asked me to look at motors on the back of his truck,” Hoffmeyer said. “I noticed that cables on them had been cut and I knew the motors didn’t belong in the truck and most likely were stolen.”

Not thinking much of it, Hoffmeyer said a few days later Wallace appeared at his business, attempting to sell the motors again. With the recollection and information that Hager had his property stolen, he sent a coworker to call the authorities while he stalled for time.

Deputies arrived at the marina to question Wallace about the motors. The defendant, testifying on his own behalf, gave his explanation on the events of that day.

“I was called by my cousin Brandon Bowman and asked if I had a truck to take some engines to the marina,” Wallace testified. “I told him I had access to the truck.”

Wallace said that his cousin’s friend, identified as John Williams, was the one who wanted to make a deal. The defendant said he rode with Williams and Bowman to sell the parts, adding that Williams told him that he knew where Hoffmeyer lived.

Wallace claimed that he didn’t speak with Hoffmeyer in the first day encounter and that Williams did. When Wallace went to the marina to sell the engines during the second meeting, Williams wasn’t present.

“He called and said he had to pick somebody up,” Wallace replied when asked why Williams wasn’t accompanying him. “I was told the deal had already been made and that I was just there to deliver the motors.”

Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Tyler challenged the defendant’s story, pointing to two different vehicles driven during the interactions with Hoffmeyer.

“Why did you even need to go with them [Bowman and Williams] the first day?” questioned Tyler, pointing to how the engines were on the back of a white truck supposedly driven by Williams. “It was no need for you there.”

Tyler highlighted that the second day the engines were being delivered in the back of a green truck, meaning the engines were moved from one vehicle to another.

Judge B. Elliott Bondurant agreed with Tyler, pointing to that exact statement while commenting on what he deemed as sufficient evidence to convict the defendant.

“Mr. Hager testified the wires were cut and he immediately went to see Mr. Hoffmeyer,” the judge said. “The engines were moved from one truck to another and the court doesn’t believe he didn’t see the wires hanging.

“Mr. Wallace obviously knew the items were stolen and the court finds him guilty on all three charges,” Bondurant concluded.

Formal sentencing for Wallace is scheduled for Nov. 14.