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Trial underway for motorcycle shop employee

Current Nashua resident accused of theft, forgery by former employer

Telegraph photo by DEAN SHALHOUP Attorney Joseph Fricano, representing Nashua resident Jeffrey Heaps at his theft and forgery trial, delivers his opening statement to the jury Tuesday. The trial resumes Wednesday in Superior Court.

NASHUA – When the general manager of Second Wind BMW, a former motorcycle shop in South Merrimack that’s since been sold, walked by a computer and noticed “something strange” on the screen, an investigation began in which “everything started pointing back to Jeffrey Heaps,” a prosecutor said in court Tuesday.

Assistant County Attorney Lisa Drescher was referring to the Nashua man who in 2016 was the parts manager of Second Wind, and who is now on trial on two counts of theft and one count of forgery accusing him of stealing funds and forging documents to “purposely defraud” the dealership.

But Joseph Fricano, Heaps’ attorney, painted a much different picture of the series of events leading up to his client’s arrest, which Fricano alleged was the product of a less-than-thorough police investigation, replete with assumptions.

Heaps, 42, of 14 Auburn St. in Nashua, lived in Milford when he was indicted in December 2017 on the three offenses, which are alleged to have occurred from March 1 to Sept. 30, 2016.

The jury of nine women and five men, including the two alternates, was seated Monday. Tuesday’s proceedings began with the reading of the charges, juror instructions and then the attorneys’ opening statements.

Telegraph photo by DEAN SHALHOUP Jeffrey Heaps, on trial for theft and forgery charges, listens to the proceedings on Tuesday's first day of trial in Superior Court. Proceedings resume Wednesday morning.

Trial is set to resume at 10 a.m. today in Judge Charles Temple’s courtroom in Hillsborough County Superior Court-South. Three days have been set aside for the trial.

“There’s only one reason Jeff Heaps is sitting there today – he was doing exactly what Darrell Faulkenberry told him to do,” Fricano said at the outset of his statement, referring to the man who co-owned Second Wind BMW at the time the alleged incidents occurred.

“Second Wind was in financial crisis … the Faulkenberrys were tens of thousands of dollars in debt,” Fricano added, noting Darrell Faulkenberry co-owned the shop with his wife, Sandra.

Fricano, gesturing toward Heaps, said his client “has been wanting to get his story out for a long time. He will go up on the stand and tell you exactly what happened,” he said.

Drescher, in her opening, told jurors the manager who noticed “something strange” on a shop computer told Darrell Faulkenberry what he saw, which “looked like someone was selling motorcycle parts, and GPS units, on the online auction site eBay.

After reviewing the computer contents further, and conducting an audit of the shop’s GPS inventory, Faulkenberry concluded that Heaps was allegedly ordering GPS units for the shop, then selling some of them on his own eBay account and directing the proceeds into his own accounts, according to Drescher.

But Fricano countered that Faulkenberry, likely motivated by concerns over the business’ worsening financial picture, told Heaps to sell GPS units on Heaps’ eBay account – because, Fricano told the jury, using Second Wind’s eBay account would violate the franchise agreement Faulkenberry had with the BMW corporation.

“Darrell absolutely consented to Jeff using his own eBay site” to sell GPS units, Fricano said, referring to Faulkenberry. The eBay sales “were all done with Darrell Faulkenberry’s knowledge.”

Further, according to Fricano, what prompted the Faulkenberrys to contact police, which they did a day or two after the manager told Darrell Faulkenberry of his findings on the shop computer, was not concerns over Heaps selling shop inventory and keeping the proceeds, but the fact the Faulkenberrys were in the process of selling the business – and Heaps informed the prospective buyers of the business’ financial situation.

“Now the owners have a problem,” Fricano told jurors, referring to the Faulkenberrys, who, he noted, had filed for bankruptcy – and in doing so, he said, “claimed they lost $30,000 to theft.”

Once Heaps told the prospective buyers of the finances, Fricano said, the Faulkenberrys “had to distance themselves from Jeff, because he blew the whistle on them.”