Police investigating Slicks Garage in Palmetto for fraud

By Summer Smith, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, January 08, 2016, 4:50 PM EST

The Palmetto Police Department is investigating a well-known auto restoration shop in the area.

Slicks Garage has quite the reputation. After being featured on Discovery Channel’s "Highway to Sell," people drove their cars from all over to be worked on.

But now the shop in Palmetto is up for sale and some are questioning what is going to happen to all of the cars left inside.

Police are investigating the business for possible fraud after at least 15 customers filed reports complaining about the work being done there.

“We have an on-going fraud investigation with several of the victims who have come forward,” said Chief Scott Tyler. “We executed a search warrant pursuant of that investigation.”

Some of the customers complaining say they dropped their cars off years ago, only to never hear a word after.

Some customers said they dropped their cars off years ago, never to hear a word after that. (Summer Smith)

“They did the interior and the paint and then it just sat,” said Frank Barcellona. “There was always an excuse.”

Barcellona brought his 1955 Packard to the shop nearly four years ago, and paid $14,000 in advance for the work. To his surprise, it was never finished.

After hearing about the building being up for sale and not getting any returned phone calls, Barcellona decided to get his car back. On Friday, with help from the Palmetto Police Department, he was able to pick up his car and take it elsewhere for more work.

“I’m very thankful that not only was I able to get it, but that it’s all in one piece,” he said. “There’s a couple of trim pieces gone and some interior bows that go up in roof of car, but other than that it looks like it’s all there.”

Others have not been so lucky and had to take their cars home in pieces.

Police said the owners told them they’re still in business, and they are only changing their address.

Christian "Slick" Humphrey and Jane Hunter, told police they bought a new shop in Miami and are currently moving everything from their Palmetto location to the new spot.

Police are looking into this to see if it’s true.

“Right now it is a criminal investigation but no charges have been filed,” said Tyler. “We’re working with the State Attorney office to review all of the evidence and complainants allegations as well as any evidence we’ve gathered at the scene.”

Many like Barcellona are not wanting to take any chances and decided to take their cars now before the investigation is over.