Havelock PD investigating auto shop for $65K in fraud


HAVELOCK, Craven County - An investigation is underway in Havelock centering around a potential fraud case at a local auto shop.

Two suspects have been identified at the center of a fraud case totaling more than $65,000 and are nowhere to be found while Havelock Police work to continue gathering evidence on the case toward the goal of obtaining warrants.

Deborah Pace says she ended up at Elite Auto Service on East Main Street in Havelock after her car was towed there in April.

"This gentleman out of the kindness of his heart towed my vehicle he paid his company 60 dollars to tow my vehicle to Elite Auto in Havelock North Carolina," she told NewsChannel 12.

The towing company driver, who goes by "Cowboy" told Pace he would pay for the repair parts and she could pay him back. That's when things went south.

Pace says she got the run around for weeks, taking nearly two months to get her car back. When she did, she says it wasn't fixed and was now missing parts.

"I'm stuck with a vehicle that won't work," she said.

All that remains at the shop is a handwritten note that reads "Closed." Calls to the number on the shop door were answered at first, but the person on the other end quickly hung up. After that, the phone kept ringing. Havelock Police Chief David Magnusson says there are 12 reports filed by different customers against the shop, not including Pace's. He estimates the total amount in fraud is at $65,000 and encourages others who have been through a similar ordeal with Elite Auto to call Havelock PD. Craven County tax documents reveal the shop was rented to Corey Gabbard and Pablo Verduzco. Magnusson would not confirm the two men as the suspects, only saying that the department is looking for two men in the case and said the department believes both have left the area.

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