Pe Ell Auto Shop Owner Faces Felony Charge for Allegedly Squirting Paint Thinner on Customer’s Vehicles 


A Chehalis man who runs an auto shop in Pe Ell is facing felony charges for allegedly throwing paint thinner on six vehicles in the 1300 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia on Monday. 

Dakota Solomon Earl Ingram, 37, is accused of “driving (by) and squirting paint thinner” at six vehicles belonging to the alleged victim after he reportedly refused to pay Ingram more money for a paint job Ingram had completed. 

The alleged victim told police he had paid Ingram, who runs a shop in Pe Ell, $500 to paint a 1965 Chevrolet. But when he went to pick up the vehicle, Ingram reportedly “demanded more money” and sent him text messages “asking for speakers and/or another vehicle as payment.” 

Ingram allegedly sent a text “threatening to put paint stripper” on one of the victim’s vehicles, according to court documents. 

The victim later received a text from Ingram “with an emoji of two hands shaking” that meant “they were even,” according to court documents. After receiving that message, the alleged victim went outside, saw his vehicles were damaged and called the police, according to court documents. 

An officer with the Centralia Police Department responded to the alleged victim’s address just after 11:30 p.m. on July 18 and noticed “the paint (on the cars) was starting to peel where the substance had contacted it,” according to court documents. 

The alleged victim estimated the cost to refinish all six vehicles would exceed $5,000. 

Police used surveillance video from the victim’s property to identify the suspect vehicle and a trooper with the Washington State Patrol conducted a traffic stop early Tuesday morning. 

The trooper identified Ingram as the driver and arrested him for driving with a suspended license. Ingram was booked into the Lewis County Jail just before 1:50 a.m. on July 19 and has since been charged with one count of first-degree malicious mischief, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. 

Judge J. Andrew Toynbee set Ingram’s bail at $10,000 during a preliminary hearing in Lewis County Superior Court on Tuesday. 

Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher recommended that amount due to concerns about Ingram’s criminal history and out of concern that Ingram would interfere with witnesses. 

Ingram had reportedly tried to contact a witness from the jail after his arrest, according to Meagher. 

While Ingram’s attorney asked Toynbee to grant Ingram unsecured bail, Toynbee opted to set $10,000 bail “to address that failure to appear risk and also to prevent interference with the administration of justice or intimidation of a witness.” 

Ingram’s next court appearance is an arraignment hearing scheduled for Thursday, July 28.