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UPDATE: Business owner sues Parkersburg officials in federal court

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 4:30 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2020 at 3:09 PM EDT
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A Parkersburg business owner arrested in August for allegedly having a stolen vehicle has filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against a city police officer and three code-enforcement officials.

Byron Meeks, 43, filed the suit on Sept. 8 in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

In his lawsuit, Meeks, who is running a write-in campaign for mayor after finishing finished third in the Republican primary in June, claims city officials trespassed on his property, conducted an illegal search and collected evidence for “personal gain” against him. In addition, the lawsuit claims that he was deprived of his constitutional right to due process.

Named in the lawsuit are city code-enforcement director Bobby McClung, code-enforcement officials Mike Winters and Darren Winans, and Police Lt. Matthew Eichorn.

Meeks was arrested in August and charged with receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle. He was released after posting a $5,000 bond in Wood County Magistrate Court.

At the time, Police Chief Joe Martin said the vehicle, which was reported stolen in Rhode Island, was found while city code-enforcement personnel were investigating parking complaints on 15th Street near Meeks' residence.

According to a criminal complaint, Meeks told officers he bought the vehicle locally and showed officers a title from Rhode Island. However, he also acknowledged that the vehicle “was presumed to have been stolen.”

A magistrate-court hearing on the stolen-vehicle case is scheduled for Oct. 5.

Meeks' lawsuit said his business has lost $250,000 and suffered “irrepairable damages” since his arrest.

Mayor Tom Joyce has declined to comment about the case.

ORIGINAL STORY: 8/12/20

A Parkersburg man who finished third in the city’s Republican mayoral primary in June is facing a felony charge for allegedly having a stolen vehicle.

Parkersburg Police charged Byron B. Meeks, 43, with receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle. He was released after he posted a $5,000 bond in Wood County Magistrate Court..

Police Chief Joe Martin said the vehicle, which was reported stolen in Rhode Island, was found as city code-enforcement personnel were investigating parking complaints on 15th Street near Meeks’ residence.

According to a criminal complaint, Meeks told officers he bought the vehicle locally and showed officers a title from Rhode Island. However, he also acknowledged that the vehicle “was presumed to have been stolen.”

Meeks’ has been mentioned as a possible write-in candidate for mayor in November. He collected 230 votes in June’s primary to finish behind Mayor Tom Joyce and Mike Cottrell.

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