An assistant manager of a Toledo automotive shop who is accused of sending sexually explicit text messages to a customer pleaded not guilty Monday morning.
Stanley Wilburn, 32, of 2006 Evansdale Ave. is charged by Ottawa Hills police with one count of telecommunications harassment.
Mr. Wilburn posted $20,000 surety bond Monday, a week after he failed to appear in Toledo Municipal Court in response to a summons.
On July 15, a 24-year-old Ottawa Hills resident told police that, several days earlier, she started to receive text messages from a man who identified himself as "Steve."
The woman told police she first thought the texts were "an innocent mistake," according to an Ottawa Hills police report. But she received 52 text messages -- 44 of them on July 11 -- which became increasingly obscene, the report states.
Most of the messages asked the woman if she wanted to have sex; according to police, one included a picture of his genitals. Police said the woman repeatedly told the man to stop sending her messages.
Police said they linked the phone number from the messages to Mr. Wilburn, assistant manager at Monro Muffler, 3305 Secor Rd., where the woman recently had work done on her car.
Debbie Palermo, vice president of human resources at Monro Muffler, said that before receiving a reporter's inquiry, she had been unaware of the incident.
She said she was under the impression that the incident was a "domestic matter" and no personnel action had been taken, but if Mr. Wilburn was unable to get to work, he could be fired.
Ed Mullen, vice president of employee relations for Rochester, N.Y.-based Monro, said the company awaits additional information about the allegation.
"Obviously we're not going to terminate somebody based on less than fact, OK, and all that we know is what his family told our store manager as to why he could not be at work, and that's it," he said.
If company officials determine that the woman's contact information was obtained because she was a customer, Mr. Mullen said, Mr. Wilburn "would certainly be terminated."
An Ottawa Hills officer went to the auto shop on July 15 and arrested Mr. Wilburn, who was also wanted on a driving under suspension warrant issued by Perrysburg Township, then gave him the summons to appear in court. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to appear July 23, and he was arrested again Friday, court records show.
A public defender was assigned to Mr. Wilburn during his court appearance on Monday.
When the initial arresting officer asked Mr. Wilburn why he sent text messages to the woman, he reportedly said he thought he "would be able to get a date with her," according to the police report.
John Wenzlick, Ottawa Hills interim police chief, said he was not aware of other complaints against the suspect, nor was he aware of other such incidents involving village residents.
"The best thing to do is to make sure you go to a reputable auto mechanic," Chief Wenzlick said. "I'm sure she thought that's what she was doing. It's unfortunate that this occurred."
Mr. Wilburn did not return a message seeking comment.
Contact Taylor Dungjen at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @tdungjen_Blade.
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