MARIETTA, Ga. – Auto Innovations auto body shop sat prominently on Canton Road in Marietta for a long time, then it disappeared. Cobb County Police started getting deluged with complaints about missing vehicles. But the shop owner was in court this week for missing money.
Brittany Pedigo’s truck missed a deer but not the fire hydrant which left a scar down the driver’s side of the vehicle. New to the state, she took her truck to Auto Innovations back in January. It was a blue-colored building with lots of cars and trucks in the fenced-in lot.
“I dropped the truck off,” she said. “Hadn’t heard anything from the business in almost two months.”
She told a Cobb Count magistrate judge this week, she called and texted, but couldn’t get a response. So she went to the shop. But on this visit the lot was empty. The signs were gone. The building was painted white.
The sudden closing of this Cobb County body shop left customers and an employee scrambling for their vehicles and tools.
“I drove by the shop after work one day and the shop was just closed,” Pedigo said. “No vehicles. Everything repainted. Just everything gone.”
Auto Innovations’ website said it had moved locations. It shuttered its doors in February. Still, to this day, where it has moved is unclear.
Brittany Pedigo filed a police report like so many others claiming a missing vehicle. Those reports show that officers sent vehicle owners to possible locations to find their cars and trucks.
In court, she said, she found her truck, but it wasn’t repaired and her insurance check for $3,707.77 written to the truck owner had been cashed by Auto Innovations.
She the judge the check had been cashed the day after she told it dropped off in January.
Pedigo filed a theft report against the company owner Shelly Jackson for her missing and cashed insurance check.
“It was in my center console,” she told us lifting the center compartment in her still-battered truck.
In court, the lawyer for the shop owner Shelly Jackson suggested the check was on its way.
“Have you had any communications with your insurance company since this time?” Michael J. Deal asked the plaintiff.
“I have been in touch with my insurance adjuster to see if they got a check back because Shelly said she was going to send it back,” Brittany Pedigo responded.
The young lawyer from the Macon firm Alderman & Hutcherson asked, “So, she is sending it back, according to what you’re hearing?”
“She’s been saying that since March,” Pedigo said.
The judge sided with the truck owner and issued a felony arrest warrant for Shelley Jackson of Auto Innovations for theft by taking.
“Apparently that check, from what your testimony is, you left in your vehicle. It was made out to you personally. And it was obviously taken out of your vehicle and deposited into the Auto Innovations account based on these text messages that I’ve seen. It has not been returned to your insurance company,” Judge Amanda Perez of Cobb County Magistrate Court explained.
Ms. Jackson turned herself into Cobb County authorities later that day. Her attorney declined to comment to FOX 5 Atlanta. But Britanny Pedigo did have final thoughts.
“I don’t want to do that to anybody, but at the end of the day, if you own a business you need to own up to and do the right thing,” she said