The Trials of Christian Longo
On the Run
For a year, it seems, Chris tried to toe the line. But in May 2001 desperation set them on the move. The world was closing in; they no longer answered the phone because the only callers were collection agencies. Longo sold their little house in Ypsilanti, forged a driver's license, jumped probation and, with the $8,000 in realized equity, moved to a warehouse in Toledo, Ohio. He left behind a half dozen lawsuits, two warrants, and $60,000 in debts.
In Toledo, the Longos had the $8,000 in cash from the sale of their house, a stolen construction trailer, forklift, trailer and boat, along with the red Pontiac Montana van.
He was paying $1,650 a month in rent for the warehouse, which he was using as a showroom to sell the stolen wares. But a family of five is expensive, and he had no income until one of those high-ticket items sold. He went back to forging checks for a living.
He made a deal to sell the $32,000 forklift for $5,000, but the too-good-to-be-true deal made the buyer suspicious. He called the Toledo police, who came to the warehouse to investigate.
On Aug. 30, 2001, Sgt. Paul Hickey, supervisor of the Toledo Police Department's stolen-vehicles section, arrived at the warehouse to find the forklift, along with a boat, boat trailer, construction trailer and a rental truck, and the red Montana. MaryJane and the kids were in the van, Sgt. Hickey realized in retrospect, packed and ready to leave.
True to his nature, Chris was calm and polite. The police checked serial numbers on the forklift and the rental truck, neither of which had been reported stolen. MaryJane seemed indifferent to the police presence. If she knew what Chris was up to, she remained aloof and silent.
By the time the police discovered that the forklift and construction trailer were indeed missingnot yet reported stolenfrom a construction site, the Longos were long gone. Chris and his family had fled, along with the red Montana and the rental truck. Left behind were the stolen goods, along with boxes and boxes of the Longos' household possessions. Photo albums, clothing, toys, everything.
With no word from MaryJane for some time, her worried sisters decided to visit her, but when they arrived at the warehouse, it was empty.
No forwarding address.
They filed a missing persons report. They were afraid that something bad was about to happen.