Oil City man facing numerous charges in fraud, robbery cases

An Oil City man is facing numerous charges following an investigation by police into multiple incidents that have occurred since June.

Franklin state police said in a criminal complaint they investigated Walter Mann, 50, for home improvement fraud and theft stemming from incidents with four people that occurred from June to August. Police said they have also looked into Mann in connection with several incidents that have occurred over the past week.

Police said Monday they were assigned to investigate a possible firearms violation and found that Mann is prohibited from possessing firearms because of numerous prior incidents.

Mann slapped a man last Wednesday, stole the man’s clothing and showed the man a gun, police said. Mann then removed two bullets from the gun’s magazine, placed the bullets in the other man’s hand and said the bullets were for the man if he was to notify police of the incident, police said.

Police said they also determined Mann possessed at least two firearms, and police executed a search warrant Monday at Mann’s residence and found less than five grams of methamphetamine, a glass pipe and other drug paraphernalia.

In a separate criminal complaint, Franklin state police said Mann presented himself as the owner and operator of Countryside Tree Service and indicated the company was “licensed and insured” to potential customers, despite neither Mann or the company being a licensed contractor in the state.

Police said Mann signed but failed to complete a June 27 contract for more than $1,000 of work on a garage door and landscaping work for a customer. Police also said a county detective contacted Mann on Aug. 3, who then gave the customer $500 of the money back.

Mann made no further contact with the customer despite indicating he would pay back the rest of the money by Sept. 7, according to police.

Police said Mann was paid $600 by another customer in June to install a chairlift in a home. Mann installed a stairway railing but didn’t complete the rest of the project and didn’t answer the customer’s attempts to contact him, according to police.

Mann also signed a contract July 3 and was paid more than $1,000 by that customer, but Mann either partially completed the work he agreed to do or incorrectly completed the work, police said.

Police said Mann signed a contract Aug. 26 to do landscaping work on another customer’s yard and was paid more than $800 in separate payments after Mann told the customer he needed more money for tools and supplies. The customer told police Mann completed a fraction of the work he agreed to do and damaged her property, according to police.

Mann is facing charges in both cases that include possession of a firearm prohibited, robbery, robbery – inflict threat, terroristic threats, theft by unlawful taking of movable property, possession of a controlled substance, use/possession of drug paraphernalia, receiving advance payment for services and fails to perform, deceptive business practices and theft by deception – false impression.

He was arraigned Monday and placed in the Venango County jail after failing to post $35,000 bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled Dec. 2 in Central Court.