Clearwater man arrested for selling faulty appliances following 8 On Your Side report

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side is getting results. Last week News Channel 8 reported on a man accused of selling faulty appliances and on Thursday Clearwater police arrested him.

Police showed us an example of one of his schemes with an ad on Facebook Marketplace promising a “Stainless Steel Package in Mint Condition.”

But pictures of what the customer received include a dishwasher filled with used detergent and a rusted out refrigerator.

“This is the worst case I’ve seen like this in my 23 years here… just looking at that refrigerator is disgusting,” said Lt. Michael Walek with the Clearwater Police Department.

Clearwater police arrested James Holecek on a felony charge of scheme to defraud.

News Channel 8’s Christine McLarty spoke with three women who said Holecek sold them broken machines with worthless warranties.

“The washing machine I bought for close to $600 is sitting here in our scrap pile,” said Kimberly Chandler, the founder, president and CEO of Fluff Animal Rescue.

Chandler said Holecek’s lies are impacting animals.

“These guys [holding up a puppy] have to wait for clean sheets, I mean we go through sheets, towels, and poddy pads like they’re water,” Chandler said.

Police say Holecek has an extensive background of fraud over the past couple of decades and already served time for it.

So on Friday, News Channel 8 went to speak with him.

“Do you have any comment on getting arrested last night?” Christine McLarty asked Holecek.

“No comment,” he said.

“Do you have anything to say to the thousands of dollars you’ve taken from people? What about the animal rescue?” McLarty asked Holecek as he got in his car.

He slammed his door, drove away and didn’t come back.

Curtiss Gales said News Channel 8 saved him a lot of money.

“I just gave him a thousand dollars for this room, and then y’all show up? Nah…Uh, uh,” Gales said.

We told Gales according to public record, Holecek is facing an eviction notice on that property.

“He went in his little wallet, said here you go… sorry for the inconvenience. Seems like y’all are telling the truth,” Gales said. “He needs to get his behind whooped or something.”

Anyone who has been a victim of Holecek’s schemes or knows someone who has been a victim should call Clearwater police at 727-562-4319.

His court date has yet to be set.

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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