Dale Shephard is a car buff and although he's owned a lot of little sports cars over the years, his pride and joy is a nearly 30-year-old Nissan.
"It's a 1990 Nissan Z-X Twin Turbo," he proudly says as he shows 3 On Your Side a Nissan stock picture similar his car.
"I put a computer chip in it to override the system. So, it goes even faster. It's a little rocket ship," he said.
But, his so-called rocket ship is missing and he claims it's all because he gave it to a mobile mechanic by the name of Alonzo Lopez to repair.
"It started blowing blue smoke out of the tailpipe and that's when I decided to do some repairs on it," Shephard said.
In the past, Shephard says he's had numerous cars worked on by Lopez, seen in a previous mug shot we obtained.
So, he had no reservations when Lopez came to his house and picked up the car along with $1,000 to make those repairs.
But, that was 14 months ago, and according to Shephard, all he's heard is excuse after excuse from Lopez.
"'I'll get it to you in a week or I'll get it to you in two weeks.' Then it was a month. Then, all the sudden, communication just stopped," Shephard told 3 On Your Side.
Shephard has been so desperate to find his Nissan that he hired a private investigator and that investigator finally found that Nissan at a residential lot just off of 16th Street and Monroe. The lot is fenced off and locked. It’s also patrolled by two large dogs. But why in the world would Shephard’s Nissan be in this location for 14 months?
No one came out of the house to talk to 3 On Your Side about Shephard’s weathered Nissan and after leaving a business card, no one called either.
According to paperwork filed with the Better Business Bureau, Lopez is listed as the co-owner of another repair shop along with his father, Ernest Lopez. In fact, we obtained photographs of the two men together working on a car.
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So, we went to that business looking for answers about Shephard’s Nissan.
“Hello, Ernesto. I recognize you. How are you? My name is Gary Harper from Channel 3,” Harper tells Ernest. “I’m looking for Alonzo, your son."
Ernest says Alonzo isn't there, but he acknowledges the dispute with Shepherd and the missing Nissan.
Ernest goes on to say he's upset and angry that he and Alonzo are being sued by Shephard in a civil suit in an attempt to get the Nissan returned.
“Well, the man wants his car back," Harper tells Ernest. “It's been 14 months.”
"I mean, time flies,” Ernest says chuckling.
“What can you do?" he says as he sat in his office chair.
Ernest goes on to say that Shephard’s Nissan is a side-job that his son Alonzo is working on and it has nothing to do with the business that 3 On Your Side is standing in at the time.
"Well, I have a small piece of advice for you,” Harper says. “Just give the car back."
"I don't have nothing to do with it," Ernest replies.
“OK, then tell your son to give the car back and then this whole thing just goes away," Harper said. “And, you won't be seeing me anymore, how's that?"
"That's great," he replies.
"Because I want to see you,” he says laughing. "You're a great reporter."
3 On Your Side left the business, but as for Shephard, he says he can't believe his car has been left to bake in the sun, and for what? After 14 months, he says he's been given absolutely no reason as to why he can't get it back or if it's even been repaired.
"I just want relief knowing that the car is back and that it's safe," he said.
Shephard says he’s tried unsuccessfully twice to get the Phoenix Police Department involved, but they reportedly told him it’s a civil matter and declined to take a criminal report.
However, after 3 On Your Side’s involvement, Phoenix police tell us they are now looking into the matter to see what they can do to assist Shephard.
Stay tuned, we’ll let you know what happens.
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