Owners of cars locked on lot can go to court

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The owners of vehicles locked up at a closed Grand Rapids auto repair shop may soon be able get their cars back.

At Creekside Automotive on Burton Street SW, more than 10 vehicles were stranded behind a chain-link fence and locks after the repair shop shut down suddenly.

Tim Krupp called Target 8 after he showed up at the shop to find his prized 1987 Cadillac locked up behind the fence. Krupp said he had tried to call the shop, but the number was disconnected. There was no note at the business telling customers how to get their cars.

Tim Krupp's 1987 Cadillac on the lot at Creekside Automotive. (July 1, 2014)
(Tim Krupp’s 1987 Cadillac on the lot at Creekside Automotive. July 1, 2014)

“I was really upset,” Krupp said.

Target 8 couldn’t track down Creekside Automotive owner Justin Hollenbeck Tuesday, but did learn the shop was unlicensed — so it shouldn’t have been fixing anyone’s car.

After Tuesday’s investigation aired, four more car owners contacted Target 8. One of them, Richard LaGrone, said he hadn’t known the shop was closed until Target 8’s report.

“I just want my car. It’s a good car. I put a lot of money into it. It runs good. It’s in excellent condition and I want it back,” he said.

Also Tuesday evening, a man claiming to be Hollenbeck called the newsroom. He said he was calling from a hospital in Maryland and has been out of town for a couple of weeks dealing with a family emergency. He said he has been intending to get customers’ cars back to them.

He also said he would call back Wednesday, but that had not happened as of 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Target 8 found there is a way for owners to get their cars.

Another check of court records revealed that Creekside’s landlord is suing to get the property back. The landlord’s property management company says it invites car owners to come to court July 11 with ownership documents to sort everything out with a judge.

“I’m a little bit relieved,” Krupp said upon hearing the news. “That sounds good.”

He said he’ll be at the 61st District Court in downtown Grand Rapids on July 11 for the 9 a.m. hearing.

He also said he doesn’t intend to go through a similar debacle again.

“Next time I take my car somewhere, I’m going to have a background on them,” Krupp said.

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