Howard plays it safe

NEW JERSEY — For a few weeks now I’ve been telling you about the New Jersey safe company that’s ripped off customers around the country.

It took thousands of dollars from them for safes and never delivered.

They packed up and disappeared from their Hackensack headquarters last month. I just missed them by a few minutes. So I was determined to find out where they went. And I did.

I found them on Route 46 in Elmwood Park, N.J. The only outward sign of their existence there was a truck with the company name on it.

When I got there, a new character appeared. Mak Lacka wasn’t running things any more. He claimed he no longer owned the company. A Turkish guy who called himself “Rob” did.

And was this “Rob” ever boisterous. He went on and on yelling that he had worked out a payment plan with the police.

He claimed he’d give me the business card of a detective who was on the case. But it turned out to be just a card from the New Jersey Dept. of Consumer Affairs. And he said he had a factory in Turkey and was waiting for more safes to be delivered for his customers.

So we looked a little further into it. We saw a document indicating that the guy’s real name is Kuzey Utku. But I think “Rob” is a good name. And we checked with attorney Jef Henninger and some victims.

No one has seen a dime yet and no one knows about a repayment or delivery plan.

OK, Rob. What next? We’ll see.