‘Unexpected’ Donation Helps OK Family Tied Up in Legal Battle After Losing $1000s to Unfinished Repairs
Written by Kaylee Olivas, KFOR
Published Feb. 3, 2023
A Yukon, OK, family told KFOR in December they were out thousands of dollars in parts and labor after the auto repair shop they were working with closed before finishing repairs, but after Jan. 31, they have a new sense of relief.
After News 4 aired the Tomko family's story Dec. 26, Dent Source co-owner Bobbi Caraker said she and her husband immediately knew they needed to help.
“I read through [the News 4 article about the Tomkos] and it’s unfortunate. It’s one of those 'bad things happen to good people' type of situation. We know that we can help out and we have the ability to,” explained Caraker.
Dent Source and the Tomkos began working together. Although Caraker said getting parts is difficult for any repair shop right now, the necessary parts for the Tomkos' truck came in about a week after ordering them. Come Jan. 31, the truck was fully repaired and ready to be driven again.
The Tomkos walked into the shop where their truck was awaiting final inspections with ear-to-ear grins.
Caraker said the parts and labor would’ve cost the family between $3,500 and $4,000, but they provided everything for free.
“It was unexpected. That’s not what we wanted, but grateful and thankful that people like Michael [Caraker] exists to help somebody out when other people take advantage of people, so it was an honor and a privilege for them to step up to do our truck, because it’s not what we expected,” said Mary Tomko with tears in her eyes.
The Tomkos said the last several months leading up to the donation had been frustrating.
“You lose sleep over it. You know, your attitude about how you look at things will even change. It affects you in every way,” said Bob Tomko.
Dent Source has been in business for 22 years, but helping out others never gets old.
“It’s enlightening. I love it, even with them [the Tomkos] especially but with every customer we have coming, we love seeing all the work that we’ve done and how they see how hard we worked and the product. The finished product is amazing always. So we’re very proud in what we do in our name and what we stand for,” said Caraker.
As for what’s next for the Tomkos: they’re currently tied up in a legal battle with Travis Harrison, the owner of Blockheads Auto Repair in Mustang, OK. They’ve filed a case with small claims court and are expected to face Harrison on March 13.
Bob Tomko was involved in a car accident in December 2021. He and Mary hired Blockheads and wrote a check June 23, 2022, for $2,050. The memo line read the money was for “truck parts and labor.” That check was cashed almost immediately, according to Mary.
The Tomkos said Harrison informed them he’d need to purchase the necessary parts directly from Ford.
Harrison told KFOR he received the parts, but because he knew he was closing down shop soon, he sent the parts back to Ford so he couldn’t be “accused of stealing.”
However, a representative with Ford told KFOR that Blockheads Auto Repair is not affiliated with the company and they don’t sell parts directly to repair shops.
That representative also said to find out if Harrison or Blockheads ever purchased the parts, they’d need the name of the local dealership Harrison was working with.
News 4 was unable to obtain that information, as Harrison made it clear he didn’t want to go on the record with any further information and claimed the news station was harassing him by asking for his side of the story.
Mary said the communication even before News 4 reached out to Harrison was lacking. The Tomkos showed News 4 several unanswered text messages, and other messages showing Harrison claiming “everything is going good” and on schedule.
December 2022 rolled around and the Tomkos still had no idea what was going on.
Harrison told KFOR he shut down "several months” prior, but a lease showed him working under the name Blockheads Auto Repair until at least Sept. 30. Mary said Harrison didn’t officially leave the space, which he was leasing from her company, until early December.
Harrison claimed he has all necessary paperwork which he will be presenting to the “courts where matters like this should be discussed.”
He said at the time of closing, he tried reaching out to the Tomkos several times, but never got a response.
The Tomkos said that’s not true. They requested Harrison refund their money by Jan. 15 or they would be taking him to small claims court. That date came and went, but there was no refund, according to Mary.