Former Virgil’s owner pleads not guilty to check theft

(ABC 6 News) – Royal James Johnson, the former owner of Virgil’s Auto Repair and Towing, pleaded not guilty to charges of mail theft and theft in Olmsted County Court Tuesday, Aug. 15.

Johnson was accused earlier this year of stealing and cashing checks made out to the business’ current owners.

Johnson is scheduled to stand trial on Feb 12, 2024.


(ABC 6 News) – Olmsted County charged a former business owner with stealing and cashing checks made out to the current owners Monday, May 1.

According to court records, Royal James Johnson, 44, previously owned Virgil’s Auto Repair and Towing (1648 3rd Avenue SE), but sold the business to its current Rochester owner in November of 2021.

The current owner contacted Rochester police in January of this year regarding a check for services that had been stolen and deposited into another account.

According to court documents, law enforcement determined that the account belonged to Johnson, and that 16 checks intended for Virgil’s Auto Repair and Towing had been deposited there between Jan. 3 and Jan. 26, 2023.

The checks totaled $7,984.01.

“It’s a big, significant hit. That money would’ve been helpful to keep us going. I mean, we still made it through. It just would’ve made it a little bit easier,” said current Virgil’s owner Jon Douglas.

Douglas allegedly gave officers information about each check, including what the service was and when it had been provided.

According to court documents, Johnson originally told officers he was still the Virgil’s owner, and that it had moved from 3rd Avenue SE.

He told officers he had the mail forwarded from the Virgil’s shop to an address he preferred.

The USPS confirmed that Johnson had set mail intended for 1648 3rd Avenue SE to be forwarded to his own address in April of 2022.

According to court records, Johnson was unable to provide any information about the services for which the checks had been written, and could not prove that he had provided them.

According to the current Virgil’s owner, no one at the business gave Johnson permission to forward mail for the business or deposit their checks.

“I would never think that this would’ve happened,” Douglas said.

Johnson faces felony charges of theft and mail theft.

Johnson’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 31.