Kermit Residents Speak Out Against Local Mechanic Shop, Sheriff Steps In 3/1/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
March 1, 2013
WINKLER COUNTY-Kermit residents are angry after a local mechanic shop allegedly messed up their cars.
The Winkler County Sheriff is taking a stand.
Harper’s Heavy Equipment and Automotive opened it's doors in Kermit last year.
Now it's closed, but has left its mark on the community and its cars.
So many in Kermit were complaining about the service at Harper’s that Winkler County Sheriff George Keely says he had to take action.
He wrote a column in the newspaper encouraging those affected to speak out—without mentioning any particular mechanic shop in particular.
With both civil and criminal suits pending, one Kermit woman says the mechanic held her car hostage for months, didn't repair what he was supposed to and tore up the interior.
"Trashed, it's completely trashed,” said the woman who brought her car in for rear-end repairs. “My dash was tore up, my ignition taken out. Pieces from underneath the car were placed inside.”
Keely said people were coming up to him on the street talking about the issue.
"People would bring in cars, he wouldn't le them have them” Keely said. “One man brought a car in and it was there for months, he claimed he fixed it but it was never fixed.”
The first civil lawsuit hits Winkler County next week, but now the mechanic has opened doors at a new shop--just across the state line in Jal, New Mexico.
The mechanic says he made the move to get away from “bullying” by Sheriff’s officials.
“Am I running? No, but I still got to feed my family,” said Casey Harper, owner of Harper’s Automotive in Jal, New Mexico.