Beware of Guys Offering to do Cheap Auto Body Work in Your Driveway

Categories: Crime-iny, Ride Me
It's not often you read a police report about a criminal you remember standing on your driveway (unless you are Carlos Bustamante out there, holding a mirror), but I experienced it reading about a fellow who is apparently trying to a pull a con with on-the-spot auto body work in Newport Beach residential neighborhoods.

At least, it sure sounds like the guy calling himself "Tom Amico" is my guy.

About a year ago, I was in my driveway next to my mini-truck (which does need mucho body work; get your bids in now) when two fellows drove up in a white pick-up and the guy on the passenger side yelled something at me.

As his buddy remained behind the wheel, the fellow got out and immediately tried to sell me on having him do on-the-spot work to remove dents and cover scratches. He explained he worked in his uncle's body shop and had access to tools and other stuff he could use to do professional quality work right in my driveway.

I said no thanks, but he pressed on, looking over the whole truck and giving me a ridiculously low bid. Fortunately, I couldn't (and still can't) afford the low bid, but with each "no" he kept going lower. I believe he might've got down to $90.

Anyway, this guy was seriously tweaking HARD--I imagined my $90 going directly to the nearest meth dealer--and the fellow behind the wheel did not resemble an angel, not that that means anything. It's just the whole thing creeped me out. After holding my ground, and simply walking into my house and locking the door behind me, they finally took off.

Here's the report Newport Beach police took regarding a Jan. 19 incident: A "Tom Amico" approached a resident offering to fix scratches, the rear bumper and the broken door handle on his car for $1,400. The resident agreed, and "Tom" and his pal began working on the car.

But they later said they would have to order a new door handle. Arrangement were made to have them return Jan. 21. On that day, "Tom" returned and said he needed another $1,500 so that he could get a $3,000 rebate, offering to give the resident $2,700 back and keep the rest of the repairs.

The resident handed over the $1,500 and never saw "Tom" again. The repairman was later described as 5-foot-7 with a medium build, brown hair and facial hair, which pretty much describes my guy except for the "tweaky" part.

But then, on Jan. 23, a Balboa Island man was approached by two Latino men who'd parked their white pick-up truck outside his garage and then proceeded to start working on the rear bumper of the guy's car. Once they finished polishing the bumper, they told the resident $450 was owed for the work. The resident refused to pay, and the fellow's eventually left. (Hat tip to

Anyone with information about these fellows is asked to call Newport Beach cops at 949.644.3717.

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My Voice Nation Help

This happen to my son LAST NIGHT.  I came home from work and he told me a guy and his 7 year old daughter were coming back to do $200 of body work on his car that he had already given him.  The guy did come back but after about 40 minutes he said he had to take his daughter somewhere and would be right back.  My son demanded half the money back and the guy started to get sketchy and angry.  He said he spent the money on "materials" but that we could follow him to his house to get the money back, we agreed, he ended up going into 7-11 ATM, he came out with nothing and the daughter (total con artist too) pulled $86 out of her back pack and gave it to us.  The guy was getting scared because by the he was leaving my son had 4 of his buddies at the house...  The guy was driving a 4 door silver Toyota that looked like a rental car.  He seemed like he might have been middle eastern - light but not white skin, light eyes.  The whole thing was weird, the police didn't care.  Yes, my son has learned a lesson....


Old Gypsy Con.....thier not Hispanic. 

949girl topcommenter

Years ago my dad "surprised" me by letting 2 guys roaming the neighborhood doing bodywork fix a minor dent on my car without me knowing and it ended up costing me way more to get it fixed properly.  The tiny dent ended up turning in to a big sand papered and primered mess that was expensive to fix. 


The people that bother me to do bodywork on my truck are more annoying than the black-toothed meth heads that beg for change (mostly because the meth-heads can take "no" for an answer). Can I just pump my goddamn gas please? Unless you're going to offer me an 80% discount on every other estimate I've received, you're not touching my truck (and even if one did offer that discount, my internal sense of "get what you pay for" and "too good to be true" still won't let me work with them).

Mitchell_Young topcommenter

"next to my mini-truck"

Why am I not surprised?

Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@Lajimmy Was thinking the same thing -- I had a guy do this way back when. His associate bragged that the actual body work guy was full gypsy blood. Gave him something like $50 to pull a fender back into reasonable shape, which he did. Then instead of ripping me off, he just told me to go get a $5 tub of bond-o and cover up the holes. That worked. Pretty good deal, really, for us both. 

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