AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A Richmond County automotive shop reportedly burglarized multiple times this year now faces more issues.
We first told you about this story back in August and since then several customers and even a former employee reached out to us to share how their dealings with Total Performance Automotive were impacted right along with those break-ins.
“My life savings is gone because of it,” Timothy Burke, a customer, said. “I trusted him.”
Burke shared that upgrading his 2009 Mazda RX- 8 R3 so that he could take it racing with family as a hobby was all he wanted.
“It was a great car, but what I ended up wanting to do is I wanted to put a little bit more power into it,” he said adding that he hoped to bring his children into the hobby too one day.
Burke turned to Total Performance Automotive on Milledgeville Road in March 2018. He said he paid $6,000 dollars downpayment plus more cash totaling more than $19,000 for an engine that would take his ride from 230 horsepower to right around 500.
Burke added, “I talked to the employee and he said drop it off in July and it will be ready in about two months, a month to two months. I drop it off. I’m gone for two months. I come back and my car was still sitting where I parked it, unlocked.”
He never signed a contract, but Burke said he did communicate via text message about the work, which he said took even longer.
“I went up there and I told him, look, we’re working on our third baby we need to have a vehicle, we can’t do the one car thing anymore. He said don’t worry, I’ll have it done by the first of the year.”
NewsChannel 6 also spoke with former employee Josh Hammack, who started running the establishment around the time Burke’s car was there.
He said, “Naturally, I was nervous, I’m like if he has a hard time buying these parts and stuff, are we going to be able to stay open?”
Hammack said he ran the shop last year when the owner was ill and worked on Burke’s car. He told NewsChannel 6 that’s how it worked. Deposits came in and parts were bought, but larbor was low.
Hammack added, “He got in over his head. He’s not cut out to run a business.”
Calls to the shop to speak with the owner returned with the message:
“The number you are trying to reach is out of service.”
Attempts to reach the owner were unsuccessful. The shop is also closed.
Burke said in all he lost more than $30,000 and has a car that does not work.
For tips on how to choose the right auto performance shop, click here.