GALVESTON � A Harris County couple claims a Galveston County man to whom they sold their Friendswood residence refuses to let them retrieve their furniture and personal property, recent court documents say.

Thomas and Grace Bechtold filed a lawsuit against Markus Wane Sims on April 26 in Galveston County District Court. The suit claims Sims violated an agreement he entered with the plaintiffs upon purchasing the subject property last month.

According to the Bechtolds, the defendant consented to leaving the furniture and other possessions out of the transaction. Both parties agreed to have the items remain at the residence until a later time when the plaintiffs would pick them up, the suit says.

The Bechtolds assert the furniture and other things are "irreplaceable" family inheritances. They contacted Sims about obtaining their property shortly after the sale.

The suit alleges the defendant repeatedly told the complainants that he needed to secure liability insurance before handing over the possessions in question, adding he had not moved into the house nor begun to make repairs.

"The plaintiffs believe, based upon the actions and verbiage of the defendant, that the defendant will unlawfully take and carry away their said personalty and convert it and dispose of it to the defendant's own use and benefit," the original petition says.

"The plaintiffs have repeatedly demanded that the defendant allow the plaintiffs to immediately recover all of their furniture and other personal property, but the defendant has rejected, and continue to reject, their pleas to get all of their personal property."

Consequently, the Bechtolds seek at least $25,000 in attorney's fees and a temporary restraining order preventing Sims from seizing their belongings.

They are represented by attorney Kenneth C. Kaye of League City.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County 10th District Court Judge David Garner.

Case No. 11-cv-0689

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