Queenstown mechanics fear shonky repairs by convicted car mechanic fraudster Karl Abbott could put lives in danger.
Local auto specialists also believe Abbott – jailed in 2004 and 2005 for swindles involving car maintenance in Christchurch – is giving them a bad name.
“It’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed,” a Queenstown mechanic says.
“Some of the things that we have seen are just horrific.”
The unnamed mechanic claims he once fixed the steering rack in a woman’s car which she’d previously taken to Abbott to get fixed.
“Instead of changing the ball joint to take the movement out of it, he’d crushed it up – he’d smacked it with a hammer or something, so it was squeezing it tighter to take the movement out of it,” the mechanic claims.
“Sure the movement’s not there but the thing is, the joint’s worn out. And if that popped apart … that vehicle [can] careen across the centre line and kill someone.
“Everyone round town has got a story about him. And that’s the trouble – we’re getting tarred with that same brush,” he says.
Stewart Motors owner Dave Lattimore says: “The guy needs to be stopped. I think he’s just a criminal and he shouldn’t be in our town.”
Lattimore, a committee member of the auto industry representatives Motor Trade Association, claims: “There’s not a lot [MTA] can do – there’s no governing law on [preventing Abbott from trading]. We can’t do a thing to stop him doing what he’s doing.”
Separately, Abbott, 50, is due in Queenstown District Court this coming Monday on a charge of wilful damage after Alpine Auto Specialists’ yard in Industrial Place was entered and the windscreen of a van cracked on February 23, court papers reveal.
In April 2005, The Press reported Abbott pleading guilty to two charges of theft for having two $12,000 4WDs stolen to order by a colleague so he could use parts for repairs.
Abbott now operates at 18 Industrial Pl.
He trades as the Mobile Mechanic but also advertises as Car & Van Repairs.
Mountain Scene reported on January 21 that he’d had Swedish bar worker Julia Lonnerheden’s damaged van for three months. He returned it complete with repairs three days after the story.