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Theft Stories

Here is a tale from the Hamilton Street garage.  One early evening at work a man came into the shop and asked about a used pickup. I told him we had one just about what he wanted and its sitting across the street on our truck lot where the Colborne House Hotel used to be.

As I was alone at the shop I gave him the keys and told him to look it over and if interested drive it back to the garage and I would put a dealer plate on it for him to take it for a test drive.

A few minutes later he came back, handed me the keys and said why would you have a nice truck like that for sale with such a horrible rusted tailgate, and left.

I could not understand that myself and ran across the street and took a look. Sure enough, someone had stolen the tailgate off the truck which is not hard to do, and replaced it with his old rusty one. Crap, it would upset anyone.

As I left for home after nine, I started around the square and spotted a rusty pickup with a nice shiny tailgate complete to our dealer sticker on it parked in front of where Winston's Men's Wear is now. Looks like the person had decided to go to the show while he was in town.

I phoned the Police and they stood in the entranceway waiting for whomever to come to the truck and sure enough a man eventually did and the Police nailed him.  The tailgate was removed from the truck and taken to the Police Station on West Street as evidence. It was so long coming to trial we had to buy a new tailgate (which is expensive) to put on the truck so that we could sell it.

Somedays  you just cannot win.


From the Suncoast Drive Garage.


Just after the new garage was built, out on the nice grassed area where we would display new vehicles we noticed first thing one morning that a new pickup truck parked there was missing its set of fancy upgrade running boards.

Someone, most likely in the dark, had laid down on the grass and removed them.  However he dropped one of the wrenches he used and lo and behold it was engraved with initials.  We phoned the Police who came to investigate, handed them the wrench and away they went.  Turns out they found the person who owned the wrench but the shed at his house had just been broken into and a lot of his tools stolen. They were unable to catch the thief.


Not much profit left on that truck deal when it got sold after outfitting it with another new set of boards.


One of the hardest things I ever had to do.  A travelling salesman from Stanfield Automotive in London called at our garage, checked over our electrical inventory and body shop supplies and had them replenished as needed.  We liked and trusted him so much he had the run of the place.  If we needed tickets for an event in London, he got them. When in London we had to go visit him and his wife and so on.  However, we started missing things and suspected theft. Thinking about it, he always came during the noon hour to service our account when the least staff was around.  Our body shop manager marked an unopened box of masking tape and it disappeared. As the salesman had also bought his car from us I dug out the factory invoice which also records the key numbers and cut a new set of  keys for his car, opened the truck and there was the marked  box of tape.

I took him into my office and accused him of stealing which he denied. I said no problem, I am going to phone the Police and let them look after this.  With that he broke down and confessed.  Seems that he was an alcoholic with a real bad problem and the items he stole from us he traded to other small garages and body shops down the line for bottles of liquor. This also cost him his job in London. They were horrified when they heard the news as they thought so much of him also.

I wondered for years after how he was making out and if he ever got help.


Who said business was easy?

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