The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 12, 2013

Motel guests run up $5k bill, go missing

By CARL E. FEATHER - cfeather@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

— The insurance settlement check is in the mail. That’s what a 49-year-old Erie, Pa., man and his female roommate kept promising the manager of a Saybrook Township motel as days turned into weeks and weeks into months.

They ran up a $5,349 bill before the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department was called for assistance and the couple disappeared into the night.

According to a report, the subject and a 40-year-old woman, also of Erie, were allegedly staying at the hotel after being burned out of their home in Erie, Pa. The subjects identified themselves as Kevin and Brooke Yacobozzi and had a “little girl” with them.

The couple used a phone call from an apparent bogus insurance agent to convince a motel employee of the insurance claim and forthcoming reimbursement for the lodging.

According to the report, the couple took up residency in early December. They would leave the hotel at 9 a.m. each day and return every evening.

When weeks passed without payment from the insurance company, the motel employee tried calling the agent’s number and instead reached Kevin Yacobozzi, who always had an excuse for the delay in payment.

The $5,000 bill eventually caught the attention of a hotel district manager, who requested charges be filed against the couple.

A deputy met with the couple on Jan. 30, and they advised him that a $9,000 check was in the mail from Globe Life headquarters in Oklahoma. They claimed it was settlement for a flooded basement and would be sent directly to the motel, which could deposit the check and give the couple any money due to them in cash. The deputy told them that was a common scam and cautioned the manager not to accept the arrangement.

The male subject, whose real identity is believed to be Kevin Stephane Lomax, made several promises to pay the bill, but never came through with the money. By Feb. 4 the couple had moved out. Among the items they left behind were bills from several other hotels. The manager called several of them and verified that those bills also were unpaid.

The department’s investigation showed that the male subject has had at least 19 arrests since 1984, the majority of them for theft and receiving stolen property. He is on Erie County adult probation.

The motel is still awaiting the insurance check, according to the report. Charges have been requested in Ashtabula Municipal Court, the report shows.