INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Authorities believe a Greenwood, Indiana, man is now in West Virginia after defrauding customers of money for car repairs that he never completed.
A pair of those customers, Darci Bell and her husband, allege John Bragg II took $14,000 to repair their rare 1965 Volkswagen bus, but never did the work and disappeared.
“I mean it’s a 1965 and it needed a total restoration and it was still worth $20,000 in the shape that it was in,” Bell said. “So, they are very valuable.”
The Bells had a contract with Bragg to do the work at his Whiteland, Indiana, shop called JB Bugs Trick Truck n Rod. His partner, Melanie Goode, is the legal owner of the shop. Bell says Bragg moved the bus to Chattanooga, Tennessee, without the Bells’ permission.
“It’s just been a nightmare. So, then we find out everybody is trying to find their vehicles because nobody knows where their vehicle is, who has it, what condition it’s in,” Bell said. “Here he told us it’s in his personal storage and we can’t get a hold of him to find out where it’s at. Come to find out, it’s still in Chattanooga.”
The Bells had to get the bus back to Indiana on their own and it was in worse condition than before. The Johnson County, Indiana, Sheriff’s Office is working with the Kanawha County, West Virginia, Sheriff’s Office to track him down in West Virginia where he has ties.
Detective Alex Talley with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, said of Bragg, “His history of defrauding people and taking money for his own gain seems to be catching up with him. My understanding is he’s been involved with schemes and scams for a long time.”
Darci Bell manages a group for people affected by the scam. Many knew Bragg as “JB Goode” and “John Goode”; by her estimation, the group had $350,000 and vehicles stolen.
“Me and my husband have been trying to buy this exact bus that we own now for 15 years, and then that happened and we were like what if we don’t get it back?” Bell said. “I want justice because if he’s not stopped, I mean, if you look at his track record, he’s done it before.”
Bragg was convicted of fraud in Walton County, Florida, in 2020; bigamy and fraud in Hancock County, Indiana, in 2009; and theft in Johnson County, Indiana, in 2007, the West Virginia authorities say.
Authorities in December contacted Goode in Charleston, West Virginia.
Authorities in December reached Bragg by phone, and he told them he would turn himself in, but he never did.
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