Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kinloch Salvage Yard Owner Faces Charges

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kinloch Salvage Yard Owner Faces Charges

Article excerpt

KINLOCH * Robert K. Hill Jr. couldn't have chosen a more conspicuous place to locate his salvage yard: On the same 6.3 acre parcel as city hall a government long known for corruption and mismanagement.

And, like his neighbor, Hill often drew allegations that his business was nothing more than a front for illegal activity.

It was an open secret in Kinloch that St. Louis County Police had been investigating Hill for more than a year.

Then, more than two weeks ago, officers arrested Hill, 37, charging him with receiving stolen property.

Police say Hill's business, Complete Auto Recycling Services, knowingly purchased six stolen vehicles in October 2011, according to a probable cause statement. They included a 1992 GMC dump truck, a 2003 Dodge Intrepid, a 1998 Honda Accord, a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo and a 2001 Dodge Ram Sport.

Hill, the statement said, initially told police he had titles for all the cars, but never could produce them.

Police could not be reached for comment about the investigation.

Court records show that Hill's bail was set at $20,000, which he posted.

An employee at Hill's salvage yard on Friday was able to reach Hill by phone, but Hill, through the employee, declined to comment to a reporter.

Hill's relationship to the city goes deeper than just being its neighbor.

He now owns the building that served as City Hall up until a few months ago.

Hill bought it and several other properties from Kinloch over a seven-month period in 2011 and 2012. All told, he agreed to spend $225,000 for about 14 acres, according to county real estate records.

Hill allowed city officials to continue to use City Hall for about a year.

But soon he was at odds with a new administration that accused him of failing to pay all the money he had promised for the properties. City Manager Justine Blue said the Board of Aldermen never approved the deals.

Late last year, the cash-strapped municipality suffered another setback: It had its power cut off after falling roughly $15,000 behind on its electric bill. …

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