Where is my car? That’s what a dozen victims are asking after learning recently that Inner City Automotive in the Bronx has closed down.
For six months, PIX11 has been reporting on the body shop and its owner, Hancey Abreu. Abreu, in a text to an angry customer, said “I’m not afraid to go to jail.”
Petrit Pepujah’s Toyota Highlander has been in the shop since December, 2016, after it was towed there following an accident. His insurance company paid Inner City Automotive more than $14,000 to repair the car. But his car has been sitting in the garage, with no work being done on it.
When Pepujah, a carpenter, tried to have it moved to another body shop, Inner City told him he’d first have to pay almost $5,000. Why? The shops written policy requires customers wishing to remove their vehicles to pay 30% of the estimated repair cost, even though no repairs have been made.
Leticia Alexander, a nurse, has been waiting five months to get her 2016 BMW out the body shop. “They told me they were waiting on air bags, that air bags were back ordered. I called BMW myself and they said no, the airbags are not on back order.” Her insurance company has paid the shop more than $18,000.
Alexander and Pepujah, along with 10 other victims, were shocked to learn that Inner City Automotive on Blondell Avenue, recently closed down. And no one knows what has happened to all the cars that were in the shop.
Pepujah says Abreu had mentioned possibly moving to New Jersey, but he doesn’t know exactly where in New Jersey and he has no idea where his car is. He had just finished paying off the $47,000 Highlander and is still making insurance payments on it. “Now I can do nothing”, he says. “I’m just waiting.” He has hired an attorney.
Alexander’s BMW is also gone. She says Abreu had asked if she would give him permission to take her car to New Jersey and she said no. She assumed he had another shop in New Jersey, never realizing he was apparently planning to close down Inner City Automotive in the Bronx.
The Bronx D.A.’s spokesperson says many of the victims are people who came forward after seeing PIX11’s previous reports. If you were a victim or have information about Hancey Abreu, you’re urged to call the D.A.’s office at (718) 838-7686. We’ll keep you posted.
If you’ve got a story idea, send me an email to email@example.com or contact Facebook or Twitter.