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After I-Team Investigation, state takes on questionable Metro East auto shop

The AG says they've tried repeatedly to contact the owner of A&E Truck Center about consumer complaints with no luck. So now, they say they're launching a full-blown investigation.
Credit: Clancy, Samuel

The Illinois State Attorney General is now investigating a questionable business the KSDK I-Team first warned you weeks ago.

The AG says they've tried repeatedly to contact the owner of A&E Truck Center about consumer complaints with no luck. So now, they say they're launching a full-blown investigation.

Wednesday the business's landlord attempted to evict business owner Eric Zimmerman.

The last time we saw Zimmerman, we asked him about Kassie Tippey's family RV. She wanted a simple paint job. But she says the interior of her RV was destroyed when she got it back.

I-Team: Why is it such a mess? The dinette is all ripped up, there's clear tape holding the floor together. Zimmerman: "No, it's not ripped up, it was taken apart. Have you ever painted a house before?"

I-Team: "But this is how they got it back..."

Zimmerman: "Yes ma'am. Can you please step outside?"

Just this week, several others contacted five on your side with similar tales about the business:

that Zimmerman allegedly damaged their vehicles also.

"The motor was sitting in the back. The windows had been down about five months," said Jack Anderson, owner of Custom Pool LLC.

He dropped two trucks off with Zimmerman in early 2017. He said he eventually had to sue Zimmerman to get them back.

Court records show customers and suppliers have sued Zimmerman 13 times in the past five years.

Now, add more hot water from a new investigation into A&E Truck Center by the Illinois attorney general. They told the I-Team they've received seven complaints about Zimmerman. Three of those complaints were filed this year.

On top of it, word of Zimmerman's business complaints recently reached his business landlord.

"I couldn't believe it. I knew he was questionable. I couldn't fathom all the stuff he's done," said the business landlord.

The landowner asked we not identify him out of concern for his safety. He says ten days ago he served Zimmerman with eviction papers.

"It looks like he's gone, but he's put a lock on the door that I don't have a key to," said the landowner, as he gave us a tour of the property.

Zimmerman may be gone but he's left behind a strange menagerie of vehicles: several RV's, a limo bus, a concrete mixer truck, and even what appear to be business vehicles.

"Wonder if anything else has got a name on it. Oh boy, tires. Gotta haul them off too," said the landowner.

After contacting several of those businesses, we were able to get a hold of the owner of the concrete mixing truck with the company name SRM LLC. The owner told us they dropped off two company vehicles with Zimmerman a year ago but no work was ever completed. They plan to tow their vehicles off the lot this week.

Some of Zimmerman's former customers told us that he would hold on to their vehicles for months at a time. It's also a common complaint in some of his online reviews.

I-Team: do you think anyone is missing these cars?

Landowner: "I don't know, It's mind-boggling. I feel for these people and I don't want to get rid of their stuff, without at least having a chance to get it out of here."

And that's the main reason this landowner says he's speaking out. He wants to help reunite these vehicles with their rightful owners.

"I'm a Christian man and I only have two creeds: trust Jesus and love everybody. He is really testing number two," said the landowner.

The landowner said Zimmerman owes him at least $5,000 in back rent, he said he plans to sue to get that back.

Want to see if your car might be at the A&E truck center?

We have a photo gallery of all the cars, RV's, and trucks that were left on the property.

Gallery: Vehicles left at troubled business

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