A former self-storage manager and two ex-employees will face trial for allegedly stealing rental payments and customer property from units at 4 Storage in Bristol Township, Pa. A Bristol Township district judge forwarded all charges against Benjamin Vargas Sr., 42, and his wife, Marilyn Lopez, 40, to Bucks County Court during a preliminary hearing on Wednesday. Vargas is accused of stealing more than $44,000 in cash rental payments, among other charges.
A third co-defendant, Marisol Ramos, 34, was already set for trial because she waived her preliminary hearing. Lopez and Ramos are charged with conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property, among other offenses.
Vargas was arrested in September on suspicion of “deceitful business practices, access device fraud, theft of services, receiving stolen property and related offenses,” according to the source. The alleged rent theft was discovered during a business audit.
Vargas managed the self-storage facility for more than six years. He is also accused of secretly using 14 units for personal items and renting outside space to work trucks and other vehicles without the company’s knowledge. The loss of storage fees to 4 Storage is estimated at more than $2,000, investigators said.
Property reported missing by customers also has turned up in units allegedly used by Vargas. In once instance in November, property was discovered by the facility’s current manager belonging to a tenant who said he had been denied access to his unit by Vargas and later told the contents were sold during an auction.
All three defendants are free on bail.