Brother pleads guilty to theft of test-drive car

Staff Reports

LISBON – One of the two brothers accused of taking a vehicle for a test drive and not returning it, was sentenced this week in Columbiana County Municipal Court.

Matthew Faulkner, 21, state Route 14, East Palestine, was fined $250 and credited with three days served while sentenced to an additional 57 days for theft, after the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor from a felony in a plea agreement. A restitution hearing was set for Sept. 26.

Faulkner and his brother, George Faulkner Jr., 26, were accused of taking a vehicle belonging to Dalton Lappert on a test drive when they met him at the 7 and 14 Truck Stop in Columbiana in June. The vehicle, a 1996 Pontiac Sunbird, and the two Faulkner men, did not return.

Lappert had reported his vehicle stolen and it was recovered the next day in Pennsylvania. Assistance from social media helped police and Lappert identify the two men responsible for taking the vehicle.

Matthew Faulkner, the younger brother, was the first to turn himself in to Columbiana Police, admitting he was in the vehicle when it was stolen.

George Faulkner, the alleged driver, was later found in New Philadelphia. He was bound over to the Columbiana County Common Pleas Court grand jury on July 1.