York CEO, a felon, went target shooting with county Quick Response Team

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Bill Hynes (front row wearing a gray T-shirt and blue baseball cap) holds a firearm as he and members of the band Live pose with members of the York County Quick Response Team in 2012.

The CEO and founder of Think Loud Development — who made news this summer when York County's sheriff allowed him to park in a secure county garage to attend a protection-order hearing — fired guns in the presence of the county's SWAT team.

Bill Hynes is a felon, having been found guilty of the third-degree felony of theft by deception in Northampton County on Sept. 15, 2010, according to court records.

Federal law prohibits felons from possessing firearms, according to Charlene Hennessy, spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The statute of limitations for violating that law is five years, she said.

The only way a felon may legally possess firearms under federal law is if his or her case was expunged or if the felon received a pardon or restoration of civil rights, according to Hennessy.

Since 1992, the ATF has been prohibited from investigating or acting on applications for relief from federal firearms prohibitions, she said.

Pennsylvania law also prohibits certain felons from possessing guns but makes exceptions for some felony crimes, including theft by deception.

The state Board of Pardons has no record of Hynes applying for or receiving a pardon, according to Sara Goulet, deputy press secretary for Gov. Tom Wolf.

Hynes, two members of the band Live and the wife of one of the band members accompanied members of the York County Quick Response Team to a shooting range sometime in 2012, according to Chambersburg Police Chief Ron Camacho, who at the time was commander of QRT and a York City Police captain.

Camacho said he invited Hynes and Live to target-shoot with QRT members as a way to thank them for buying the team a remotely controlled camera.

"I had a conversation with Bill Hynes, and he said Think Loud would like to donate a piece of equipment to the York County Quick Response Team," Camacho said. "I welcomed a donation — especially a generous one of about $5,500, which we used to buy a special camera.

"So as a thank you, I offered to take Mr. Hynes and members of the group Live out to the range and let them shoot some of our weapons systems," Camacho said.

'A bad light': Camacho said he was unaware Hynes had a felony record and that QRT members also didn't know.

"We would have prohibited him from coming out to the range," he said. "It's just unfortunate that something good is now a little tainted. ... He put myself and the team in a bad light."

Bill Hynes, CEO of Think Loud Development, shoots a rifle under the supervision of a member of the York County Quick Response Team in 2012.

Camacho said it wasn't standard protocol at the time to run criminal background checks.

"I think all police departments or county law-enforcement entities ... should probably be a little more diligent when accepting donations," he said.

Camacho said Think Loud Development has "done very good things for York City and York County."

He also noted that people convicted of crimes can rehabilitate themselves and those who do should be allowed to move on with their lives.

Tagged newspaper: Photos from that outing came to the attention of The York Dispatch recently, after Think Loud Development reposted them on its Facebook page last month.

The photos, initially posted on Think Loud's Facebook page in August 2012, were posted again on Sept. 17 of this year, and Think Loud then tagged The York Dispatch in a comment under the photos.

It's unclear why the newspaper was tagged, and Hynes did not return four messages seeking comment.

On Friday, Oct. 11, Hynes posted one of the QRT shooting-range photos on the Fixing York PA Facebook page.

He wrote, in part, "Fraternizing with a 'felon'. OMG they let this dangerous person hold a weapon. Run!!! Let's not talk about his being a disabled vet and a highly decorated one at that. Nah. Let's talk about a little bounced check from 2008."

The comment appears to have been removed at some point Friday. 

Think Loud Development CEO Bill Hynes on Oct. 11, 2019, posted this photo of himself, two members of the band Live and members of the York County Quick Response Team at a shooting range in 2012.  Federal law prohibits convicted felons from possessing or handling firearms.

Parking issue: It's not the first time Hynes has put York County law enforcement in an awkward position.

The York County Commissioners on July 23 issued a statement saying Sheriff Rich Keuerleber was derelict in his duties for allowing Hynes to park in the judicial center's secure underground garage July 15 to attend a protection from abuse hearing in which Hynes was the defendant.

"The York County Commissioners have completed their investigation regarding a breach of security which occurred at the Judicial Center on Monday, July 15, 2019. The Commissioners have concluded, as a result of their investigation that there was a dereliction of duty by the Sheriff which resulted in a security breach. The breach allowed a defendant with an active Ex Parte Protection from Abuse Order against him to park in a secure area. By admission of the Sheriff, the formal security protocols were not followed.

"The commissioners believe this was a serious breach of security which will result in review of the county’s security policies and procedures in light of this incident and we intend to implement changes."

But the commissioners later backed down, saying they will not challenge the sheriff's decision to make unilateral policy changes without the commissioners' oversight.

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Keuerleber separately told both York's newspapers that he allowed Hynes to park in the secure garage under the judicial center because Hynes indicated he was going to visit sheriff's K-9 Dargo before going to the PFA hearing. It was Think Loud Development, through Hynes, that purchased Dargo for sheriff's office.

The sheriff later indicated he never said Hynes intended to visit Dargo the day of the PFA hearing — only that Hynes had parked in the garage in the past to visit Dargo, according to a York Daily Record report.

The felony case: Bethlehem Township Police charged Hynes on July 28, 2009, with theft by deception, a third-degree felony. Police said he stole about $13,500 from Team Capital Bank.

Think Loud Development CEO Bill Hynes (in blue baseball cap) and members of the band Live were invited to shoot weapons with members of the York County Quick Response Team in 2012, after donating about $5,500 for QRT to buy a robotic remote-controlled camera device, a former QRT commander said.

According to court documents, Hynes on July 8, 2009, deposited funds from a Navy Federal Credit Union account into the Team Capital Bank account in two checks — one for $7,000 and another for $6,500. The checks were signed by Hynes and made payable to ADS Builders East LLC, a development company Hynes co-owned.

On July 14, 2009, Team Capital Bank was notified that the checks were returned for insufficient funds. By then, Hynes had withdrawn $13,100 from the Team Capital Bank account and incurred a holding fee of $371, court documents state.

Those documents state that police had numerous conversations with Hynes, who said he made a mistake and would wire money to the bank. When that hadn't happened as of July 28, 2009, police filed charges.

At a nonjury bench trial on Sept. 15, 2010, a judge found Hynes guilty. He was sentenced in December 2010 to 3½ months in Northampton County Prison, but that sentence was later reduced to two months in prison, 100 hours of community service and two years of probation. He then returned the full amount to the bank, documents state.

Hynes has described the incident as a bounced check and appealed his conviction, alleging defense attorney Adam Sager was ineffective. Sager testified at an evidentiary hearing in January 2012.

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What the attorney said: Sager said that for several days in January 2010, he advised Hynes to wire the money to the bank, which had agreed not to testify against Hynes if he paid the debt. But Hynes didn't wire the money, court records state.

Sager testified he resumed advising Hynes to return the money starting in May 2010 until September 2010 — an assertion Hynes disputes.

A Northampton County prosecutor testified the district attorney's office had offered to withdraw the charges if Hynes fully satisfied the debt, and bank employees testified they had "actually attempted to assist the defendant with wiring the funds before trial," court documents state.

According to the judge's ruling denying the appeal, Hynes indicated he "would have called a number of people as witnesses, including his business partner, mayors, congressmen and other people who he dealt with on a regular basis because those individuals could have attested to his ability to pay."

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.