DENVER — A Denver auto shop suddenly closed its doors, telling customers to come and get their broken-down cars, but not their refunds.
"It's horrible. It's a scandal," said Clayton Chancey, a customer at Duran Automotive.
He told Contact Denver7 a friend messaged him on Facebook that the shop had been shut down.
"The aftermath of finding out what he'd done to everyone's car was a nightmare," Chancey said.
A Facebook post on Duran Automotive's Facebook page states, "If you have your car here please come get it immediately. He's being shut down."
Contact Denver7 has been exposing problems at Duran Automotive for more than a year following allegations that Joseph Duran, the shop's owner, had been holding customers' cars for more than a year. Now, customers are coming forward saying that practice continued.
Carmen Porras has the receipt for her BMW repair, paid in advance in May 2021. She said her car sat at Duran Automotive for more than a year with the repairs never done. Her license plates are now missing, and her windshield is now cracked.
"I've learned not to trust just anybody," said Porras.
She said she has no way of getting more than $2,500 back from Duran.
"I can't afford to have it repaired now," Porras continued.
One former employee, who asked not to have their identity revealed in fear of retaliation, briefly worked at Duran Automotive and said Duran was robbing Peter to pay Paul.
"He was stealing people's parts, like he will take pieces off, say, my car to put in someone else's car. I saw him do this," the former employee said.
On the shop's last day, the property owner told Duran he owed him money, according to the former employee.
"Apparently, [Duran] threw the keys at the man and said, "F this." And that was that," they said.
Leaving a lot full of broken-down cars, the former employee said, Duran disappeared. They were left trying to track down customers whose cars were in the lot.
Duran has not responded to Contact Denver7's requests for comment. Court records show he has a lengthy criminal history, from felony theft to felony sexual assault.
"I have not talked to him. I have not seen him. No one knows where he is," said Chancey.
Chancey said he and other customers want to spread the word in case Duran decides to open shop again somewhere else.
"It's just not fair," he said. "The community needs to know what we're dealing with. You have people like this that are just screwing everyone over. "
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