More Auto Shop Owners Recognize Suspected Thieves | Crime

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More Auto Shop Owners Recognize Suspected Thieves
Crime, News

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- After First Coast News showed surveillance video of three suspected thieves targeting Reinhart Automotive, other shop owners have come forward and said the group also targeted them.

"My phone was lit up all day long," Dennis Reinhart said.

His competition, other owners, called to compare stories of their encounters with the group suspected of stealing checks from small business owners.  Reinhart said the stories he heard were "the exact same scenario" he'd experienced.

We called 15 auto repair shops.  All the owners said they'd had run-ins with this trio in their own shops.

Sherby Powell of Reflections Paint and Auto Body knew something was up when this group came into his shop.  "When I was working with the one, when I wasn't looking, he was just looking around the place," Powell said.  They were unable to steal from Powell because he had one of his employees guard the office.

Two weeks ago, Sam Crist of Sam's Automotive said the minute the three stepped foot on his property, he knew something wasn't right.  "They came in my front office. They came in the other door, and they also tried to get in my wife's back office," Crist said.

Now, local shop owners are on alert, learning from Reinhart's experience with the band of thieves.  "It made a lot of us shops a little smarter about how we handle our personal stuff laying around, too.  I think it's been a good recheck for everybody," Crist said.

Mary Justino from the Clay County Sheriff's Office said one of their top white collar crime detectives worked on this case for most of the day Thursday.  She said he asked JSO if they're investigating any similar cases.  First Coast News checked in with JSO

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