RIVESVILLE, W.Va. – The co-owners of Full Circle Kitchen in Rivesville have been arrested on warrants related to writing bad checks, theft by deception and stolen property from past legal cases in Pennsylvania, according to Rivesville Police Chief John McLaughlin.
McLaughlin said the arrests of Matthew Swartz, 47, and his wife, Colleen Swartz, 45, both of Fairmont and previously of Pennsylvania, along with recent health code violations revealed during a health inspection have forced Full Circle Kitchen to close.
On Wednesday, May 22, Matthew Swartz was arrested after he was caught speeding in Rivesville and got pulled over by Rivesville Police, McLaughlin said. Officers asked Matthew Swartz for his driver’s license, which he was unable to provide, according to police. Once Matthew Swartz’s name was run through the system, officers said they learned his license was suspended because of a previous DUI charge.
Matthew Swartz was driving a truck that officers said was stolen from Penske after it was rented with a bad check in Pennsylvania. Matthew Swartz was then placed under arrest and transported to North Central Regional Jail, according to police. Penske said it was looking for the stolen truck for more than a year, according to McLaughlin.
Colleen Swartz was arrested on Thursday, May 30, at the Rivesville City Hall building following an incident that occurred while she was attempting to pay her water bill, according to police. Police said Colleen Swartz was confronted by a Full Circle Kitchen employee about how she could afford to pay her water bill but not her employees. Police were then called after the two became physical with each other, McLaughlin said.
Police said the arrests of the Swartzes came after a history of legal disputes and troubles that took place mainly in Pennsylvania. McLaughlin said Matthew Swartz has been charged with theft by deception and writing bad checks, which is still an active case. Further, McLaughlin said Randolph County also had a warrant out for Colleen Swartz.
Additionally, McLaughlin said Rivesville Police were aware of the out-of-state charges against Matthew and Colleen Swartz about a month ago. When Rivesville Police first contacted Pennsylvania law enforcement, they did not want to extradite the Swartzes at that time. McLaughlin also said that once the word got out that the couple was running another business, Full Circle Kitchen in Rivesville, Pennsylvania law enforcement decided to extradite them.
McLaughlin said once the Penske truck was reported stolen, the couple and their children, who were also working in the restaurant while being homeschooled, fled Pennsylvania in the truck, which initially brought them to Rivesville.
The Marion County Health Department also gave Full Circle Kitchen multiple health violations from a recent inspection, according to police.
Published reports state that Matthew and Colleen Swartz have a history of questionable restaurant operations. In August 2014, 35 former workers at a restaurant they operated in Pennsylvania called the Farmer’s Cabinet sued the Swartzes for $100,000 in unpaid wages, according to a published report from the Philadelphia area.
A separate published report from the Philadelphia area stated that federal court records showed Matthew Swartz pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in 2007 and spent six months in federal prison.
A third report from the Philadelphia area stated that Matthew Swartz pleaded guilty in May 2014 to tampering with public record. Matthew Swartz was arrested in December 2013 after the Liquor Control Enforcement arm of the Pennsylvania State Police raided the Farmer’s Cabinet once it was discovered the restaurant was still selling liquor despite its liquor license expiring in October. The report stated that Swartz faked a certificate allowing liquor to be served, which was posted at the front of the restaurant.
McLaughlin said Matthew and Colleen Swartz are each facing four warrants out of Pennsylvania related to writing bad checks, theft by deception and stolen property. Additionally, both Matthew and Colleen Swartz have been charged with being a fugitive from justice in the state of West Virginia.