Man says car wash stole equipment, owner says not responsible

Posted at 10:40 PM, Jul 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-11 22:40:45-04

A Fort Myers man believes a local car wash is to blame for equipment disappearing from his truck.

Eric Fortunato said he's been going to Classic Car Wash in Estero for more than two years, and never had problems until $250 audio equipment went missing from his truck.

The owner of the car wash said his business has nothing to do with it.

A sign at Classic Car Wash clearly states "Customers are responsible for valuables."

Eric Fortunato said he brought his car into Classic Car Wash one weekend for service. He drove it home afterward and parked it in his driveway until Monday.

"My car was locked in my driveway. I live in a very secure area, and I know for a fact my car was not broken into," Fortunato said.

Monday morning, Fortunato went into his trunk and found the box for his audio equipment empty.

"I noticed there were fresh vacuum marks, so they had been in my trunk. I hadn't ever asked them to vacuum my trunk, or go into my trunk, because of the valuables that were in there, " Fortunato said.

The equipment was in his trunk with an $800 radio device and $300 headphones.

"If somebody's going to break into my car in my driveway, obviously they're going to steal more than that one little device," Fortunato said.

A Lee County Sheriff's Office incident report said last year, a man left his iPhone in his car at Classic Car Wash. When he left, he noticed his iPhone was missing. He tracked the phone, and the app showed it was at the car wash, but the man was told the iPhone wasn't there. Later, the tracking function was shut off.

The owner of Classic Car Wash said he's not sure what happened to that man's iPhone, suggesting maybe the customer left it in the waiting room, or another customer picked it up. He did say he knows his employees had nothing to do with it.

The owner of the car wash also said Fortunato's claims are untrue and upsetting because he has a dedicated staff that cleans up to 2,000 cars in one week without any problems. He said no car washes take responsibility for valuables, and he's confident his employees didn't steal.

He recommends people always remove valuables from their cars before getting car washes anywhere.