KC man pays repair bill on truck then discovers it stolen from Belton repair shop

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BELTON, Mo. -- For Dave Patmore, it’s the older, the better when it comes to what he drives. But one of his most reliable vehicles – a white 1969 Ford 100 truck – is missing.

The last time he saw it was when he brought it to Jim’s Discount Mufflers in Belton.

“I fear for anyone who takes their car there,” said Patmore, a musician who lives in south Kansas City.

Patmore said he only discovered his truck was stolen after he showed up on a Tuesday to pick it up and pay the $600 repair bill.

“He gave me the keys, and I gave him the cash,” said Patmore, referring to the manager of Jim’s. “He said, 'It’s in the side lot,' and I went out there, and it was gone.”

The repair shop’s side parking lot isn’t gated, and there are no security cameras. But surveillance video from the gas station across the street shows the truck was parked at the repair shop at 2 a.m. the previous Saturday.

Minutes later the fog rolls in and you cant see anything via the surveillance camera. By the time the fog clears, 12 hours have passed. It’s now 2 p.m. that same Saturday, and Patmore’s truck is gone.

That means the truck had been missing nearly three days when Patmore came to pick it up.

“Well, I can’t keep every car inside" -- that’s what Patmore said the repair shop manager told him. The manager also refused to return the $600 Patmore had just paid him for the repairs.

“It was sure a kick in the teeth,” Patmore said.

The repair shop called Belton Police who took a stolen vehicle report. But that’s of little comfort to Patmore who worries he’ll never see his truck again.

So what are his rights?

Kansas City attorney Scott Shachtman said when you drop something off to be repaired, you shouldn’t have to worry that you might never see it again.

“Whether it be roving security or full-time security, alarm system or cameras, they should be taking some kind of steps to protect that property, and if they don't protect the property, they could be held responsible,” Shachtman said.

Even if a repair shop posts a sign declaring it’s not liable for the cars left on its lot, that doesn’t lessen the shop's responsibility to take reasonable precautions.

Shachtman said one way of determining whether reasonable precautions were taken is to see what steps other businesses in the same area take to protect their property.

The FOX 4 Problem Solvers team noticed some repair shops on the same stretch of road with both security cameras and fenced lots.

We tracked down James Siewert, the owner of Jim’s Discount Mufflers, who told us he’d been in business for 44 years and had never had a vehicle stolen from his lot.

Problem Solvers suggested to Siewert that he reimburse Patmore for his truck and the $600 repair bill. At first he declined, but later called back to say he would reimburse Patmore for the labor portion of the bill -- $280.

Patmore is considering his options. So for now, this is a Problem Solvers in the works.