Here's an update to this story, posted on Friday, Aug. 24:
PITTSFIELD -- The owner of Just Like New Auto says 39-year-old Jay R. Rand never worked for the business.
Rand, the former Pittsfield man who scammed some county residents by charging them for auto-detailing services he never performed, apparently misled police at his arrest with regard to the name of his business by telling them he worked for Just Like New. However, Rand was actually doing business under a different company name.
Just Like New Auto owner Horace Costa said on Friday that Rand has never had anything to do with his business and that the association has cost him some business.
Rand has "never worked here one minute of a day," said Costa. He said he feels for the people who got scammed to the point he would "be willing to do those people's cars at no charge." Costa said he's been in business for more than 20 years.
The Eagle verified Costa's information with Pittsfield Police and is in the process of trying to find out the name of the business Rand actually ran. A filing in court records had indicated that Rand told police he worked for Just Like New the day of his arrest.
Police and prosecutors said that Rand promised expensive auto detailing or car repairs but never did the work. Seven people were out a total of nearly $3,000.
On Tuesday, Rand, of Altoona, Pa., pleaded guilty to five felony counts and two misdemeanor counts of larceny by false pretense. He was
Just Like New Auto is located at 360 Tyler St.
The Eagle has updated the original story below, which was first published on Wednesday.
PITTSFIELD -- A former Pittsfield man who had a city car detailing business admitted he scammed a number of county residents in 2009 by charging them for services to their vehicles which he never performed.
Police and prosecutors said that in several cases Jay R. Rand, 39, lied to customers, telling them that skunks or other wildlife had crawled into their engines and the vehicles required expensive clean up. In others, he told customers they needed various repairs which he then charged them for but never fixed.
Altogether, police said they located seven victims who were scammed out of nearly $3,000 by Rand from April to July 2009 through his auto detailing company.
The Pittsfield Police began investigating Rand when a then 79-year-old woman from Lanesborough reported she had been scammed by Rand. After a story appeared in The Eagle in July 2009, more victims came forward, according to a police report.
On Tuesday during a jury of six session in Central Berkshire District Court, Rand, of Altoona, Pa., pleaded guilty to five felony counts and two misdemeanor counts of larceny by false pretense.
His attorney, Glenn W. Keiderling Jr., told the court that his client had been an upstanding member of the community before becoming addicted to prescription pain killers following surgery on his hand.
The attorney said Rand had been a longtime assistant baseball coach for the Boys and Girls Club before his addiction.
Clifford Nilan, the chief of probation at Berkshire Sup erior Court, was in court to support Rand, who he met while coaching, the attorney told the court.
Rand, said Keiderling, has turned his life around and fought his addiction. He called it a case of "rehabilitation" and "redemption."
The case was delayed in part due to the defendant having to undergo surgery. A warrant was also lodged in the case, according to court documents.
Judge Paul Vrabel gave the defendant a 2 1/2-year suspended sentence and probation. He also ordered Rand to pay $2,790 in restitution to the victims.
Rand agreed to pay $1,500 on Tuesday and will be released from administrative probation when he pays the rest of the money.