Warwick auto dealer surprised by who he says was vandal
Caught on tape! The guy who allegedly keyed used cars on two local lots was scratching for profits, according to the owner Stevie Davis of Stevie D's Auto Sales in Warwick.
There are a number of surprises in this story.
NBC 10 was the only station in court Wednesday when 72-year-old Anthony Lombardi of Warwick made his first appearance on charges that he "keyed" a number of vehicles at Stevie D's Pre-Owned Car Sales.
Davis knows Lombardi and actually does business with him, sending him cars that need body work and painting.
After five cars on Stevie D's two dealership lots, at both the Warwick Avenue location and the annex on Oakland Beach, were keyed, the owner put up surveillance cameras, hoping to catch some punk.
"I thought 16-year-old kid, 10, 11, 12 o'clock at night. This was 10 o'clock in the morning," Davis said.
This last rash of vandalism happened late January this year, and Davis was shocked.
It wasn't a 16-year-old, but Davis said the video shows Lombardi drumming up business for his Airport Auto Body Shop by taking a car key and scratching vehicles.
He called the police, who arrested Lombardi.
"We know him from going to his body shop all the time. He does our auto body work, most of our key jobs," Davis said.
This isn't the first time that cars have been keyed at Stevie D's, according to the owner. Davis said it was shortly after he gave Airport Auto Body the business a year and a half ago when a $50,000 car-keying took place at Stevie D's.
NBC 10 asked Davis where that business went.
"To him. He kept on saying, 'Oh, somebody don't like you.' He kept putting it off to this guy, that guy, must be so and so. He was blaming all kinds of people trying to put my head into a different mode," Davis said.
The cost was $1,500 a car to fix, $7,500 out of pocket this time because of a higher deductible and premiums from a new insurance company, after he only received $30,000 instead of $50,000 from the old insurance claim, then coverage was dropped.
Davis is frustrated.
"I'd like to see a felony instead of a misdemeanor. To get a misdemeanor, that's a one year suspended sentence, a slap on the wrist. If he had stolen $7,500 from anybody, it would have been a felony," Davis said.
NBC 10 tried to reach Lombardi for his side of the story with no luck.
And there are more surprises. Lombardi's March court date was waived so he can go to Florida with his wife and then visit his son in Oklahoma. He said he'll be back in April.
And his family owns New England Frozen Lemonade.