Posted 11:49 PM 9/14/2012 : Cars sold for scrap metal came from Springs Transmission & Automotive
Imagine taking your car to an auto body shop for repairs then finding out it's actually at a scrap metal yard, crushed to a block of warped metal. That's what Colorado Springs Police say happened to at least one customer of Springs Transmission & Automotive, the business already under investigation for fraud.
Police say nine cars taken to Springs Transmission for repairs were sold for scrap metal by a Springs Transmission employee; what they don't know is if it happened under the directions of the shop owner, Greg Ehnes.
Police have been investigating Springs Transmission & Automotive for the past few weeks, after more than a hundred customers filed reports claiming they paid for work that was never done and had cars damaged or stolen under the company's care. The Better Business Bureau logged thirty-seven complaints against Springs Transmission in the past three years, and gives the company an 'F' rating. OSHA fined the business $76,000 last July for eighteen health and safety violations, and the Colorado Courts Database shows forty-one cases against Greg Ehnes, mostly involving money.
Ehnes told News 5 he had no idea the cars found at Western Scrap were missing from his lot; he says the man who allegedly sold the cars, Donnie Smith, is an ex-employee with a criminal background, fired about a week ago. "Donnie was in jail for the same thing," he says. "I'm too easy on people, I give them a second chance, I put faith into somebody when I shouldn't."
One victim whose BMW was sold for scrap doesn't believe Ehnes is responsible; she's done business with him for the past thirty years. "I have a very difficult time believing Greg had anything to do with it. If somebody had a nefarious background that had worked for him at some point, it's hard to find good help," Linda Gran of Black Forest told News 5.
Ehnes says he was just as surprised as Gran when he got the news, and will work with police to get to the bottom of the issue. He says he didn't notice the cars were missing because the shop takes in a lot of volume and has many storage lots.
CSPD detectives and Western Scrap declined on-camera interviews since the investigation is ongoing, but the owner of Western Scrap told News 5 he's a victim also- he paid about $25,000 for what police think could be stolen property.