A Queenstown woman warns against using a convicted car repair fraudster who’s had her damaged van for three months – and counting.
Swedish bar worker Julia Lonnerheden called Karl Abbott – jailed in 2004 and 2005 for swindles involving car maintenance in Christchurch – to fix her Nissan Serena on September 30.
Abbott had the $2500 vehicle – with a starter motor problem and no warrant – towed from her Fernhill flat.
Four days later, Lonnerheden says Abbott’s “very upset” partner visited to say the Nissan had been “stripped” of parts while in Gorge Road’s “deviation carpark” near Abbott’s Industrial Place base.
Abbott’s partner said she’d informed police and told her she should too, Lonnerheden says.
Lonnerheden’s bouncer boy-friend Kelly Pia says the van had been stripped of wheels, headlights, grill and headrests – fabric was cut from seats.
The couple say Abbott’s partner promised they’d replace the stolen parts free of charge but as of this Tuesday – over three months later – Lonnerheden’s still waiting.
They say they’ve called Abbott every two or three weeks since.
Pia: “I’m fuming. It doesn’t take that long.
“[Recently] when I rang [Abbott] up I was like ‘I don’t know what’s going on but you’re telling me porkies’.”
Lonnerheden, who works late, now spends $10-15 on taxis home about five times a week.
“If you can write about it, then other people will find out and go somewhere else,” she tells Mountain Scene. “I honestly don’t think he should be allowed to operate.”
On Tuesday, Mountain Scene visited the van parked near Abbott’s Lochy Road driveway, ironically not far from Lonnerheden’s flat. It remains stripped except for its wheels, each held by just two nuts.
Abbott says he got parts last week.
“What do you do? It’s a hard one to get parts for – that’s why it got robbed.”
He wouldn’t say when he’d have the work finished, despite being asked repeatedly.
“I can get that thing going real fast. But I’ll see what you write about me first because I’m getting f..king over it. I’ll do it for no money.
“If you c…ts drill me this time you need to live at the top of Coronet Peak. Be f..king careful because I’m getting f…ked off.”
MS: “Thanks for your time.”
Abbott: “You cockhead f..king mongrel f..k.”
Abbott visited Mountain Scene after the interview to say “lay off” and “I’m not threatening you”.
“You must be short of work to do a story like this,” Abbott says.
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. In July 2007, Abbott – fixing vehicles in his Lochy Rd, Fernhill backyard – vowed he was a changed man but promised to close when Mountain Scene reported a complaint over a job he’d done for a local taxi-van operator. Abbott now advertises as The Mobile Mechanic at 18 Industrial Place – “Great service and fair pricing guaranteed!”
Alexandra-based Grant Ward Nissan says getting second-hand Serena parts would take about 10 working days – though headrests could be “awkward”. A Queenstown parts supplier says it could take a month.
Queenstown constable Sean Drader says police believe they found the van’s stripped parts during a Dunedin drug bust but he’s unsure if there was enough evidence to seize them.
Police don’t know who stripped Lonnerheden’s vehicle, Drader says.