Fox 29 Investigates: North Philadelphia Street Mechanics - FOX 13 News

Fox 29 Investigates: North Philadelphia Street Mechanics

Posted: Updated:

It's a Friday afternoon and we've got a front row seat to a gritty, underground business being boldly run on a busy North Philly Street.

Fox 29’s Jeff Cole investigates.

It's an open-air auto repair operation: Fixing cars, not in a garage or a fenced in lot, but right, smack along 2nd and Lehigh.

And not everybody is happy to see us.

"Don't put that camera in my face, man," one worker said.

Fox 29 Investigates was directed here by a viewer's e-mail alerting us. He wrote the following:

"hacks repairing vehicles on both sides of Second and Lehigh"

Forcing pedestrians to:

"walk in the middle of this dangerous road just to get by"

In fact, we did see pedestrians working-their-way around jacked-up cars parked right in the middle of the sidewalk.

And there were days, when we saw several cars parked on both sides of bustling Second Street, and in a nearby lot, being worked on by street mechanics with their carjacks and tools lined up along the fence.

We wanted to know how the whole set-up works.

So we put a small camera in our station vehicle and had a Fox 29 Producer pull over on 2nd.

We watched the action from across the street.

“Somebody immediately came up to the car they asked if they could help me, I told them the car was running rough,” our producer said.

He told our producer his name was "Indio" and he wanted to take the van for a test drive.

Our producer refused, so Indio opened the hood and when asked said he could do a tune-up and an oil change for 80 bucks.

And that's not all.

“I asked him about breaks, I asked him about steering. He said he can do that. I asked if he could do just about anything he said he can do anything. He said his jack was right there and he had a bag with his tools across the street in the parking lot of the Auto Zone.”

We approached Indio later to talk about it, but he's the guy who wasn't pleased to see us.

While he didn't want to talk, others did.

They seemed totally unaware of the zoning and tax permits required in Philly to operate a business.

They claim they try to keep the area clean and showed us barrels at the end of an alley with discarded oil and oil filters inside.

They said they're just trying to get by.

“They try to think like that they are here to make money to use drugs, but they don't do that they come here to make their money so they can live,” one mechanic said. “No, the work is good. It's 100 percent sure your car will get fixed.”

It's the Auto Zone nearby, which appears to have drawn the street mechanics.

We watched the mechanics direct their customers to the Auto Zone and saw them returning with items likely to be installed.

The store has a sign posted warning that repair work in its lot is not allowed.

And when we went inside, a worker said this:

"As long as they stay off our property there's not much we can do."

We showed our video to Jay King, the longtime owner of King's Automotive in Delaware County.

He said not only would he question the quality of the work, but what do you do something goes wrong?

“I don't know that you could pick out the same guy on the street corner maybe he's there 2 months from now, maybe he's there, maybe he's not, when you have an on-going business like I have we're here for the long haul,” King said.

But for one woman whose car was filled with kids as it was being worked on, it's all about price.

She said it’s a lot cheaper.

Philadelphia’s Commissioner of Licenses and Inspections says his agency responded to a complaint in early March at 2nd and Lehigh, but the mechanics were gone. He urges motorists not to use them because they're supporting an illegal business and a potentially dangerous one.

  • Send A Tip To FOX 29 Investigates

    Have a tip for Investigative Reporter Jeff Cole and the FOX 29 Investigates team? Send it now!

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for submitting your tip!

  • Jeff Cole ReportsMore>>

  • FOX 29 Investigates: Former Scout Leader Accused of Abuse

    FOX 29 Investigates: Former Scout Leader Accused of Abuse

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:36 AM EDT2014-07-25 05:36:56 GMT
    A new lawsuit filed against the Boy Scouts and a former scoutmaster by a Chester County mother has the Scouts nationally explaining its actions in the case. Patsy Evasew claims the former scout leader sexually abused her son and it eventually led to his demise.The images of Thomas Evasew's sad, short life hang on the wall of his folks' Chester County home. "I feel when I touch it, I'm touching him. I miss him so every day. There's not a day that goes by,” says Patsy Evasew. She says she misse...
    A new lawsuit filed against the Boy Scouts and a former scoutmaster by a Chester County mother has the Scouts nationally explaining its actions in the case. Patsy Evasew claims the former scout leader sexually abused her son and it eventually led to his demise.The images of Thomas Evasew's sad, short life hang on the wall of his folks' Chester County home. "I feel when I touch it, I'm touching him. I miss him so every day. There's not a day that goes by,” says Patsy Evasew. She says she misse...
  • FOX 29 Investigates: Pa. Sex Offender Allegedly Strikes Again

    FOX 29 Investigates: Pa. Sex Offender Allegedly Strikes Again

    Tuesday, May 20 2014 11:18 AM EDT2014-05-20 15:18:24 GMT

    A convicted child predator is accused of stealing his best friend's identity and striking again! FOX 29 Investigates how he pulled off an escape from Pennsylvania and where he is now.

    A convicted child predator is accused of stealing his best friend's identity and striking again! FOX 29 Investigates how he pulled off an escape from Pennsylvania and where he is now.

  • Fox 29 Investigates: School Crossing Guards

    Fox 29 Investigates: School Crossing Guards

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:46 AM EDT2014-04-17 10:46:24 GMT
    In Philadelphia, the city pays crossing guards about $50 a day to ensure the child's safety. But what happens when they don't show? Fox 29's Jeff Cole investigates.
    In Philadelphia, the city pays crossing guards about $50 a day to ensure the child's safety. But what happens when they don't show? FOX 29's Jeff Cole investigates.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Police Search For Missing Camden Man

    Police Search For Missing Camden Man

    Friday, August 1 2014 8:34 PM EDT2014-08-02 00:34:43 GMT
    Police say Jermaine Lundy, 44, was reported missing on Friday. If you have any information, please call the CCPD tip line at (856) 757-7042.Police say Jermaine Lundy, 44, was reported missing on Friday. If you have any information, please call the CCPD tip line at (856) 757-7042.
    The Camden County Police Department is searching for a missing man from North Camden that was reported missing on Friday.
    The Camden County Police Department is searching for a missing man from North Camden that was reported missing on Friday.
  • Police: Boater Disappearance May Have Been Staged

    Police: Boater Disappearance May Have Been Staged

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:28 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:28:19 GMT
    Egg Harbor Township Police believe the disappearance of a boater in July may have been staged.
    Egg Harbor Township Police believe the disappearance of a boater in July may have been staged.
  • New Video Game Sparks Debate In South Jersey

    New Video Game Sparks Debate In South Jersey

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:30:49 GMT
    Video games may be pure fantasy, but a violent action-adventure game called "Watch Dogs" has ignited a very real debate in one South Jersey community. Watch Dog allows players to adopt the persona of a James Bond-like computer hacker, chasing an evil mastermind. People say it's chock-full of foul language, sex and violence, features dark and foreboding backdrops. The latest version, which is due out this fall may be set in Camden.
    Video games may be pure fantasy, but a violent action-adventure game called "Watch Dogs" has ignited a very real debate in one South Jersey community. Watch Dog allows players to adopt the persona of a James Bond-like computer hacker, chasing an evil mastermind. People say it's chock-full of foul language, sex and violence, features dark and foreboding backdrops. The latest version, which is due out this fall may be set in Camden.

Powered by WorldNow

FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices