Van Buren Auto Shop Owner Accused of Taking Money for No Work

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A Van Buren auto shop owner accused of taking money from customers without fixing their vehicle, according to a report by the Van Buren Police Department.

Jesse Hendricks was the owner of TDC Customs on South 4th Street in Van Buren.

According to a police incident report, Hendricks is facing multiple charges of felony theft by deception and forgery after taking over $137,000 from customers and never fixing their vehicle. 

The incidents began in 2016. There were reports from 25 different customers about instances where their cars weren’t fixed or they had been charged for work that was not done.

One instance happened when a customer brought his 1965 Chevrolet Impala to be restored. The customer paid some money to Hendricks up front on a credit card. Hendricks then charged an additional $5,000 on the card without the customer’s permission, according to the police report.

The customer said the car ended up at a body shop on Alma Highway, where the car was found totally stripped. The engine and transmission were no longer in the car. A credit card that belonged to the customer was charged $1,050 on January 9, 2018, without authorization, while the suspect was in Las Vegas.

There was also $4,000 worth of unauthorized charges done in Fort Smith on the same credit card. Items that were purchased were sent to Hendricks’ address in Crawford County. 

A Van Buren investigator met with Hendricks on Oct. 16 at the Fort Smith Municipal Utilities building and arrested him for theft by deception and Crawford County overdraft warrant. 

He was transported to Van Buren PD,  Mirandized, and agreed to talk with the investigator, according to the police report. 

During the interview, the investigator told Hendricks of the police report made involving auto work that wasn’t completed by the company Hendricks owned, TDC Customs auto repair.  

Hendricks said, “it was all a civil matter and that there was not any of the jobs that were not started.”

As for the credit card transaction, Hendricks said, “they were all authorized.”

Hendricks said during the questioning that his business just failed.

On October 17, Hendricks bonded out for $10,000 from the Crawford County Detention Center.

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