Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine
Massachusetts police arrested a man on charges of stealing a car from a body shop, then arrested the owner of the body shop on charges of filing a false stolen vehicle report and misleading or lying to police during the investigation.
Linda and Michael Downey’s 2002 car, at 250,000-plus miles, was on its last legs. They were about to plunk down at least another $600 for a brake repair when they heard some good news: they were eligible to receive a newer car for free.
The cash-strapped Somerville couple is delighted to get their new wheels—a remodeled 2007 Chevrolet Malibu donated by State Farm Insurance, Britland Auto Body in Green Brook, NJ, and a number of vendors that do business with the Route 22 shop.
The Pottstown Classics Car Club and local businesses and community volunteers raised money to refurbish a disabled veteran’s 1967 Ford Galaxie 500 on April 28.
A fund to pay for the restoration of a car owned by a disabled U.S. soldier was down to its last $10 when Bill Struble donated money from his veteran’s benefits to help the cause.
New York’s Cuomo administration is opening another front in its battle against no-fault insurance scams.
State Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky has announced a new regulations that give insurance companies more leeway to decline claims if they suspect fraud.
A college student from Paoli, Chester County, is in a coma more than 1,000 miles from home after a hit-and-run driver plowed into Eliza Gresh in Miami, authorities say. The teen was crossing the street on April 27 when police say a hit and run driver plowed into Gresh. Police were looking for the car, a Mercedes Benz, and the driver, Luis Moya, 24.
Harrisburg police arrested a man after they said he broadcasted "shots fired" on a police radio. Police said they thought one of their officers had been shot, but when they arrived at an auto body shop at 17th and Brookwood streets they quickly realized a worker inside had been playing with a police radio.
The radio call came from a police car that was being worked on at Maaco, police said. Police said the broadcast call was, “19th and Derry, I got a shooting, 19th and Derry I got a shooting! Back-up, back-up!"
Harrisburg police as well as officers from the surrounding area were called to the scene.
Police arrested a Maaco employee Carlos Albino, 22, within moments and determined there were no shots fired in the body shop.
"Carlos Albino came forward and admitted that he made the radio call from the police car. He claimed that he didn’t realize that the radio was activated," a police news release stated.
Albino will be charged with reporting false information to law enforcement. Police said Albino was also wanted on numerous warrants. He was wanted for a parole violation and six traffic warrants dating back to 2009.
The manager at Maaco declined comment on the incident.
Tom Elder, former president and current Treasurer of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ), is taking part in bringing the popular “Cars and Coffee” concept to New Jersey starting this Saturday, April 29 at the Knob Hill Country Lanes in Manalapan. “Cars and Coffee” is an informal get together for people with interesting cars to share their hobby in a nice relaxing atmosphere.
On March 20, AASP/NJ (Alliance of Automotive Service Providers/New Jersey) lost one of its most valued participants with the passing of former Board member Ron Kromer, Jr. The second-generation repair professional leaves behind an unmatched legacy of strong association involvement including the organizing and promoting of numerous AASP/NJ events spanning several years.
“Ron was always full of energy, and ready to take on a new task,” remembers AASP/NJ President Jeff McDowell, who knew Kromer for two decades. “He inspired people around him with his level of enthusiasm for whatever he would take on. He was always on the cutting edge of whatever information was out there and tried to share that with other people.”
During his time with AASP/NJ, Kromer was directly responsible for overseeing several special events including the Ski Trip, the Day at the Races and the Fishing Trip. Additionally, he was instrumental in the formation of AASP/NJ Chapter One in 2001 and created a special “P-Page Checklist” that shops could use to identify typically-forgotten items on estimates.
AASP/NJ member Dan Hawtin, who knew Kromer for more than 30 years and worked alongside him in building Chapter One, remembers his friend’s willingness to roll up his sleeves and work for the benefit of his fellow technicians.
AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant credits Kromer for developing several intriguing marketing ideas for the association.
“When we ran into trouble finding enough chairs for AASP/NJ members a few times [at meetings], Ron decided to take charge and come up with an idea to solve the problem,” Bryant explains. “Ron gathered enough support from industry vendors to purchase a trailer and about 100 chairs that could be transported to any location we were going to have a meeting. He funded it by allowing those who donated to put their logo and name on the trailer; we would park the trailer in front of the location where we were holding the meeting. What a great idea for all!"
A longtime NASCAR aficionado, Kromer founded the Bayville chapter of the NASCAR Members Club, a fan-driven organization noted for charity work. His work with the group included organizing a special Pig Roast to benefit NASCAR Day, an event designed to assist underprivileged children.
In 2006, Kromer purchased Ultimate Collision Center in Brick, a business that had thrived in the area for nine years.
Like so many others in the AASP/NJ family, Bryant will never forget Kromer and all that he did to better this industry.
“Words cannot express the pain that I feel that Ron is no longer with us,” he shares. “He touched so many in the collision industry through the many projects and events he thought of and made happen. I will truly miss Ron, and my heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family.”
A former Acura dealership employee who stole $10.2 million from the Pittsburgh-area store where she worked could face six years in prison, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
In March, Patricia K. Smith, the former controller of Baierl Acura in Pine, Pa., pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges that included stealing $10.2 million over more than six years. She transferred money from Baierl to her own accounts more than 800 times from 2004 through 2011, according to the Post-Gazette.