Auto shop locked up with customers’ cars


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids auto repair shop closed without warning, leaving customers’ cars locked in on the lot.

Creekside Automotive on Burton Street SW near US-131 shut down a couple of weeks ago, but about 10 vehicles were still there Tuesday. A van was up on a jack, its hood still open. A car remained on a lift in the garage. It looks as if the workers simply disappeared in the middle of the day.

A van with its hood up at Creekside Automotive. (July 1, 2014)Tim Krupp’s classic 1987 Cadillac is among the vehicles behind the shop’s chain-link fence. He has no clue how he’s going to get it back.

The Cadillac has been in the shop since autumn. He was told once that it had been fixed, but that was a short-lived notion.

“I got it as far as the street and it broke down and they towed it back here,” he said.

After months of runaround, Krupp said, Creekside told him in early June that they would have his car fixed in two weeks. When he came to get it, the business was locked up — his car along with it.

“The place is closed up, chain lock. Tried to call them — number had been disconnected,” he said.

County business records show Creekside Automotive is owned by Justin Lee Hollenbeck. Tuesday efforts to find him, hoping he could help Krupp free the Cadillac, were fruitless.

The most recent of several addresses for Hollenbeck was from his last driver’s license renewal three years ago. No one answered the door of that home Tuesday — and a neighbor said it’s occupied by an older couple, so Hollenbeck may not live there.

Digging through court records revealed only one lawsuit against Creekside. The person who filed that suit passed along a phone number for a Creekside mechanic.

The mechanic said he and another worker quit a couple of weeks before Creekside closed because money seemed in short supply.

“We were working for Justin and doing the work that he wanted us to, and he just stopped paying us on time, not paying us our full checks,” the mechanic said.

There was no signage telling customers how to collect their cars.Creekside Automotive 070114

The Michigan Secretary of State, which licenses repair shops, said Creekside Automotive never had a license. That means Creekside shouldn’t have even tried to fix Krupp’s Cadillac.

“It’s nerve-racking,” Krupp said.

Target 8 investigators continue to try to contact the real estate agency that owns the Creekside property in an effort to get Krupp his car back. The Secretary of State is also looking into the matter.

Creekside Automotive in Grand Rapids is not affiliated with Creekside Auto Repair in Hudsonville.

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