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repair shop conspiracy? my 95 ex coupe stolen!

Old 06-08-2018, 06:15 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 8
Unhappy repair shop conspiracy? my 95 ex coupe stolen!

Can someone help me understand why someone would even bother to take a 23 year old car in such tragic condition to take a kirkland battery, my transmission plus a low end aftermarked stereo?

It was already beat up pretty well, with the hood dented and rusted to hell, the front quarter panel not even primed and rusting, back bumper cracked from recent fender bender, frame all out of whack from salvage accident in the first three years, and didn't even have the front passenger seat in it at the time. The whole thing seemed really strange because I had actually taken it in to the shop because it had been pretty neglected for a while and the only work done on it had been done by myself when the radiator had to be replaced, and it was probably even over due for an oil change. I was finally in a position to have some pros take care of whatever things needed to be done to help me pass the smog check I was facing, and something was leaking around the distributor cap area, but not making enough mess to be alarming. I was certain the axle boots needed replacing if not the whole cv joint, and the clutch had gone soft on me from letting the fluid go dry in the reservoir. On top of that, she had a flat spare tire, and four dangerously bald ones that desperately needed to be replaced. But I figured I could swing the tires and see how bad the repair bill might be to tune her up again, so I took it in.

Despite the cosmetic mess she was in, including moldy carpet from leaking windows when it rains, she ran pretty reliably and still only had less than 160K miles on it, so I was a little surprised and heartbroken when the mechanic told me that the first and foremost thing was that the clutch had to be replaced because it was slipping (something I hadn't noticed, just the soft pedal from the fluid problem) and that would be an $850 repair right there, plus cv joints and tires before it was even safe to drive, and maybe I should think about whether or not it was worth the repair cost at all... I eventually decided that I could run out the clock on the clutch going and try to save up some money for another ride, and asked if he would change the oil and check the engine for my smog cert, and he said it probably wasn't even worth doing that much. SO I grieved at the end of an era approaching and went back to pick up my pos car that wasn't even worth fixing only to find that I had no car to pick up at all because the mechanic had parked it in the lot in front of the shop the night before and it had apparently been STOLEN sometime around 5am before I came to pick it up.

Now what gets me about all this is that these thieves somehow had the equipment and time to take the transmission and tow it to dump on the street in long beach, but they didn't have the sense to see that the car didn't have much value at all in the first place? I still have the front passenger seat in my garage from when I took it out to move something large, and they didn't take the spoiler, the moonroof, or the airbags, which seem like things they would want to take - but they did take the spare (flat), my jumper cables, emergency battery kit, flashlight and laminated thomas guide and even my deceased dog's leather collar and tags that hang from the rear view mirror! Also the dog whistle from the glovebox, a collapsible umbrella, and the tweeters out of the door panels - one of them nicely unscrewed, the other apparently just gouged or cut out with a pocket knife of some sort along with a square of the panel itself. And none of the interior dash panels had been reinstalled, nor the center console/cup holder/ebrake/ shift cover thingy. They took all the trash and neatly bagged it in the trunk in a garbage bag (or maybe that was the cops that did that?) which I searched through in hopes of finding the dog tags and collar, and found the keys they must have used to take it on a lanyard, plus a pair of sneakers that didn't belong to me and a couple of apple laptop chargers that were ibook G4 generation that also were not mine.

Are these are the most schizophrenic robbers in the world? Why risk it for the transmission and a battery and all that junk? The TAGS were not even current thanks to the smog check I hadn't passed yet, so they were two months expired from looking at it. The security cam across the street showed two guys walking toward it, one went over and opened it, started it and drove it off, stopping briefly for the other guy to dive in the window of the passenger side. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the handle on the driver side door was snapped off too, so not the easiest thing to open that door either.)

I feel like the whole thing seems hinky somehow. My shop guy specializes in Hondas, so he should know that they are popular cars to steal, so why put it on the lot where he's not insured for it either, and leave it out all night in not the greatest area of Hollywood? I wouldn't have left it there overnight if I had expected him to leave it outside like that - I hadn't expected to leave it overnight at all unless it was being fixed, so I left the stereo and other car stuff in it when I would otherwise have taken it out just in case. It hurt more to lose the stuff in the car than the car itself, really... at least in terms of material things. But I can't shake the feeling that something doesn't add up right, like maybe the shop guy had something to do with the theft, maybe leaving it for them out on purpose? They had the key ready when they walked up to it, and that lanyard looked like something an employee might have. Why would they take such weird stuff and not other things like the moonroof and airbags? What is the market like for just a transmission on a fifth gen ex that would merit taking that car in that condition?

My mechanic was either in just as much shock as I was or being totally evasive, and frankly doesn't seem to be as contrite as I would expect a shop owner to be if it were my customers vehicle that I had lost. That would be my #1 priority to make that right, but it is almost like he is too busy to deal with my petty little car problem, and I am starting to get a bit mad. If it were not such a strong sense of integrity that I got from him initially and trust that I have had in him, I would be pitching a bit of a fit and making threats at this point.

Am I trippin'? Is there something about this I'm missing that makes this make sense? It wasn't a kids' joyride, that much is clear, what with the keys being the method of entry and starting it, and the whole transmission gone... Wtf is happening? If they had the ability to take the transmission and tow the car to dump it, why not take it all the way down to the nuts and bolts to get every piece of it that could be sold? I saw a wtb ad for an a/c unit - that was left in my car, but the fuses were all gone? I don't get it.

Please help me understand this a bit better to at least make some sense of it. Is there some part that is worth a whole lot that makes the whole thing worth it even without the little stuff, but still worth taking the little stuff?? This is making me upset that it is not adding up right.

I am buying a used Si from him now too - though he had no way of knowing that I would be interested in one before I came to pick up my missing car, so unless he is psychic, I don't see how that could be a factor except that it is taking way too long to take possession of this car which was promised to be ready by Wednesday of LAST week, then Mon, then wed, then "maybe friday" with all the blame going on the body shop being backed up.

My feelings about that are that I don't really give a hoot about the body shops' troubles, pull in a favor and get it to the front of the line so I can have a car since you lost mine. HOW is this not the most important thing you are dealing with right now, considering that I have given tons of referral business if not my own, a lot of time, no car to go anywhere and a yelp review of your shop that previously gave high praise? I don't think you want me lambasting your shop for this major screw up no matter which way you slice it....

I've been holding out on going rage mode on the keyboard till now, but the car is still not ready to collect today, and no one is returning the calls. I have facebook friends rallying to urge me to go to small claims court. It is invariably his fault that I am out my car, but the monetary gain would probably not be worth the effort and certainly couldn't replace the car, nor even put me in better position to buy one than the one I am positioned to buy now from him, but twenty five bucks a day rental fees is not the issue anymore, as it has been three weeks since I brought my car in to him and it disappeared.... I am a little put out.
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