Racine police say a 36-year-old man is facing felony fraud charges because he lied about his car being stolen with a $2,200 vacuum cleaner in it.

William Bunch, of Racine, was charged Wednesday in Racine County Circuit Court with one felony count each of fraud and bail jumping and one misdemeanor count each of obstruction and theft. If convicted, he faces up to 11 years in prison and/or up to $40,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint, Bunch on Jan. 22 reported his car stolen after he was robbed at a gas station on Main Street. He also reported that he worked as a vacuum cleaner salesman, and there was a vacuum cleaner and multiple parts and accessories in the vehicle worth almost $2,200. Bunch collected $769.25 from his insurance company in reimbursement for a rental car and was due to receive another $4,656 to replace the “stolen” car.

Investigators say they learned the vehicle was parked in a relative’s garage, and when they questioned Bunch about it, he admitted the robbery was a ruse to collect the insurance money. Bunch returned the vacuum cleaner and some of the parts and accessories, but his boss told officers there were still items unaccounted for and that he wished to press charges for the theft.

Bunch was assigned a $2,000 signature bond at his initial appearance Wednesday and was ordered to have no contact with his former employer. He will next be in court May 5 for his preliminary hearing.

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