GRAY, Ky. (WYMT) - Owners of a Knox County metal company say they thought they were helping a man on hard financial times. However, Sheriff's deputies say that same man and his brother stole five thousand dollars worth of items from the company.
Gray Metal Company is a family owned business, and the owners say they try to help other families who need it.
"You can always ask, and really, we've never turned nobody down for help," said Giulio Cima, Gray Metal Company owner.
They say in August they started helping Joseph Messer, 35, who lives down the road.
"He was getting bicycles. We were letting him have them for nothing or charging him two dollars for a fifteen dollar bicycle and he was fixing them and giving them to kids," said Cima.
Knox County Sheriff's Deputies say he took more than bicycles. Deputies say Messer and his brother, Eric Jewell, frequently went to Gray Metal in the overnight hours and stole wiring, batteries, and radiators.
"He just come and walk in the business and take what he wanted to the other recycling centers in Laurel County and Whitley County," said Deputy Claude Hudson.
The Cima family noticed the items were missing several weeks ago. Deputies say they found the stolen items at recycling centers in Whitley and Laurel Counties, and workers there pointed them to Jewell and Messer. Deputies arrested the two men on Monday.
"It was very convenient for him that he had a friendship, relationship with the business and they were kind to him and he took advantage of that friendship," said Deputy Hudson.
"It's a sad situation. I was actually going to give him a job," said Cima.
Messer and Jewell are charged with theft and criminal mischief. Bond for both men is $25,000.