Auto repair shop owner arrested as customers complain of work no - - Columbia, South Carolina

Auto repair shop owner arrested as customers complain of work not done

Thomas Robertson (Source: Fairfield County Sheriff) Thomas Robertson (Source: Fairfield County Sheriff)

"He shouldn't get away with this," said Tyrone Gladden. "This is not fair. You pay for a job, you expect the job to be done."

Gladden's 1948 F-1 has sentimental value. It's his grandfather's. Gladden's checked the progress on work being done by A-1 Auto Paint and Body, disappointed each time.

"Many times he called me for parts that he said couldn't be restored, like tailgates, the bed hinges," said Gladden. "I went out and asked him about the parts and he could never show me the parts."

Receipts show he's paid $5,770, $2,000 to keep the antique truck inside. Thursday it was out in the rain.

Gladden's not alone.

" I gave Thomas Robertson my hard-earned money and he did not fulfill his obligations," said Jennifer Shepherd.  She gave him $800 for a new transmission.

Shepherd provided a picture of what she needed.

"Weeks passed and he got the wrong transmission," she said. "Then he said 'I don't have the transmission. I have to get another one.'"

Texts detail the run-around.

"He texted me and said, 'Call me tomorrow' and when I called him he said he would have the money, then, 'oh well I don't have it. The best I can do is maybe give you $200, $300,'" said Shepherd

Shepherd was left in a financial hole. WIS tried to get answers, but the Fairfield County Sheriff's Department arrested him before we could confront him.

Robertson is charged with breach of contract.

When asked why the work wasn't being done, an unnamed shop employee said, "He had like a lawsuit against him and their verbal agreement was if he dropped the lawsuit, he would finish the truck up."

Not true. Gladden showed us the signed contract from Robertson promising to finish the work by August. Gladden was so frustrated, he couldn't finish our interview.

"I was looking forward to showing my family the truck," he cut off.

Shepherd's case was criminal because she paid, but was never given a product. She warns others not to fall for new ads placed by Robertson on Craigslist.

Because of a lawsuit, a third victim couldn't talk.

Investigators say never pay for work up front. Reputable businesses should have enough capital to bill you after the work is done.

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