CHICAGO -- When you drop-off your car for repairs you expect to get it back within a few hours, or a few days at most. Felice Williford was without a car for eight months. She’s one of several customers who accuse employees of an auto repair shop in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood of stealing their cars.
As WGN Investigates looked into their complaints, city inspectors and police raided Payless Auto Body in the 3800 Block of West Roosevelt Road. They closed the business over building code violations. Police confirm the department’s auto theft unit is looking into customers’ complaints.
Williford brought her Chevy Malibu to Payless for repairs to several dented side panels. She says employees later claimed her car was undriveable and refused to return it. Imagine her surprise when she received a red light camera ticket from suburban Burbank. Video showed her car being driven through a red light. She went back to the repair shop. “’If I can’t drive my car myself, how are you guys driving it,’” she said she asked employees. “Three days later they was like ‘you can come pick your car up,’” Williford said. “My car went in in better shape than it came out.”
Damen Traylor dropped his car off for some radiator repairs December 1st . A receipt shows he paid a $300 deposit. Traylor said employees claimed he didn’t give them his car. Two weeks later his car resurfaced undriveable in suburban Bridgeview.
Another customer whose car went missing says she’s concerned it was used to commit crimes. “I don’t know if my car was involved in a theft or a robbery,” said Vetress Boyce. “ Right now I’m not confident at all with the car. I don’t want the car. I don’t know what comes with it.”
The owner claims a rogue employee may be responsible. Watch the full story by clicking on the video above.