7 On Your Side
Clergyman conman a wanted fugitive
NEW YORK (WABC) -- A family owned store in business for 50 years never had a sale go bad in all those years, until they wanted to help out a local bishop and trusted his check was good.
Well that check bounced all the way back from the bank.
When 7 On Your Side went looking for an explanation we found out this clergyman is a fugitive.
"Camden County has a warrant out for your arrest, are you really doing the same thing you're accused of going to jail for? Reverend Hester!" Nina Pineda asked.
Before even buckling the kids up, the rogue reverend with three outstanding warrants, burned rubber in his van full of furniture.
The furniture stacked in the back of Bishop Robert C. Hester's van, may belong to the Selikoff family.
"You wouldn't figure a person of the cloth is going to pull the wool over your eyes," Larry Selikoff said.
Larry Selikoff says he was bamboozled by the Bishop.
In July, Hester walked out of his Newark store with a new bedroom set, paying for it with this church check from the Maranatha House of Refuge.
"I never thought a church would give me a check that would bounce or have a closed account," Mrs. Selnikoff said.
The store owners say Bishop Hester insisted the bank made a mistake and promised to mail a cashier's check. It never arrived.
"So what do you think happened?" Pineda asked.
"I got scammed," Larry Selnikoff said.
7 On Your Side investigated and found out the clergyman is a wanted man with three outstanding warrants in New Jersey for kidnapping and forgery charges.
It's no surprise, the reverend, who 7 On Your Side saw pull up in this van, would not open the door.
At the reverends new ministry in Allentown, PA the reverend refers to himself as R. Clarence Hester and he told 7 On Your Side two things.
One, that he wasn't the man holed up inside avoiding our cameras and two, that he paid off the furniture store the day before.
In both cases the minister was trying to deceive 7 On Your Side.
7 On Your Side checked with the store they got nothing.
Then, the pastor called and tried to throw Eyewitness News off his trail by insisting he was at home.
7 On Your Side stayed put and minutes later the self proclaimed apostle appeared.
"Reverend Hester, you call yourself of man of God, these people accuse you of stealing from them! What seems to be the problem?" Pineda asked.
He didn't want to answer 7 On Your Side's questions and he also no-showed in Newark Criminal Court this week, to face the charge of knowingly passing a bad check to that family owned furniture store.
Pastor Hester will be served at the address where 7 On Your Side found him in Pennsylvania.
If he no shows again, a bench warrant will be issued for his arrest.
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