Mechanic's shop trashed, equipment taken on opening day

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News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Monday, Oct. 21st, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A local mechanic is cleaning up a big mess after someone trashed his shop and pretty much cleared out all the equipment.

It happened Sunday night at an automotive shop on Gordon Highway.

Lifts were cut off the floor, AC units ripped right out of the walls, and trash and clothing thrown everywhere.

"I opened the door and I saw that the place was destroyed. The lifts were gone, the compressor was gone, there was damage to the building itself," said mechanic Tracy Hughes.

Since he was 14, Hughes has dreamed of owning his own business, but he never expected it to come the way it did. Broken glass and cut wires lay across the floor soaked with oil as Hughes and his crew worked to clean up the mess.

"They just scattered it and got whatever was worth any money and took it," he said.

On the outside the cars are gone and the signs destroyed.

"I was devastated. I was really sad," said Hughes.

Hughes was working as a mechanic for the previous owners of Performance Center. The landlord said they weren't paying the bills, so he asked them to pay up or leave.When they decided to go, Hughes saw his opportunity.

"I thought maybe I could take a negative and turn it into a positive," he said.

So ten days ago, he signed the lease to open A-1 Performance Hughes Automotive.

They had planned to open up the doors Monday, but they say it now may take a little bit longer to get the mess cleaned up.

"I've got my work cut out for me," he said as he looked at the damage.

And that work is going to be a lot harder to do without equipment.

"Without lifts its hard for me to do exhaust," he explained.

But Hughes says both his crew and his landlord have stepped up to keep his dream alive.

"The landlord has pitched in and he said he's willing to put me some lifts in there and help me so I think God's on my side and I'm really happy," he said.

He says he hopes to begin doing minor repair work this week. He'll have to wait for equipment before he can do much of anything else.

He called police and made an incident report. As of close of business Monday that report was not in the system so it wasn't available yet.

News 12 will keep you updated on this story.

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