Action 9: Repair shop joyride

Updated:

Loading

ORLANDO, Fla. - Action 9 investigates a car repair nightmare no one ever expects to face after a customer claimed a Seminole County repair shop gave her car to a stranger, who took it for a three-week joyride.

Angela Perez left her Ford Fusion at an AAMCO in Longwood for repairs she later turned down by phone since it would cost too much. But when she returned to AAMCO, the shop told her someone had already picked up her car.

“I said, 'Are you joking?'" Perez told Action 9. "He said, 'I wouldn't lie to you,' and that's when we went into a panic."

Perez claims AAMCO blamed her because that person said he knew her. She called the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, which was able to obtain a security-camera picture of the man who picked up her car.

“Do you have any idea who that is?” asked Action 9's Todd Ulrich.

“No. I've never seen that guy ever in my life,” replied Perez.

Three weeks later, the car turned up abandoned near a hospital. Someone had tinted the windows, and there was minor damage inside. The odometer also had an additional 700 miles on it.

Ulrich went to the AAMCO looking for answers.

“I'm trying to figure out how that can happen,” said Ulrich. “She says the company didn't help with any explanation or cover damages.” 

“You mean our company? This is the first I heard of that, and the sheriff department told me they were handling it,” said the repair shop manager.

AAMCO's manager said the Sheriff's Office told him not to call the customer, but now the company would consider covering her losses for what it called a freak event.

The Sheriff’s Office now calls the man who picked up the car a person of interest in a stolen car case.

“I'll take a lie-detector test if that's what it comes to. I don't know this guy,” said Perez.

That AAMCO shop has an A-plus rating at the Better Business Bureau for good customer response. It promised to resolve Perez's issue.

Sheriff’s investigators said someone could have followed Perez or watched her at the shop.