The owner of Patio World Home and Hearth on Route 1 South, just opposite the Quaker Bridge Mall, has been charged with one count of theft by deception, Acting Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri said in a press release. Perry K. Arons, 56, of Naples, Fla., was accused of accepting payment totaling about $38,000 from a couple in Skillman in March and July of 2015 for patio furniture. The homeowners never received their order and the money was not returned, according to the prosecutor’s statement.

Arons, who lived for many years in the Mercer County area while running Patio World, turned himself into authorities on June 9 and was released pending future court proceedings. Third-degree offenses carry a penalty of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

The investigation is a result of a referral to the prosecutor’s office by the Mercer County Division of Consumer Affairs. The Lawrence Police and the Mercer County prosecutor’s office are continuing to investigate.

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