Beware of Guys Offering to do Cheap Auto Body Work in Your Driveway

It's not often you read a police report about a criminal you remember standing on your driveway (unless you are Carlos Bustamante out there, holding a mirror), but I experienced it reading about a fellow who is apparently trying to a pull a con with on-the-spot auto body work in Newport Beach residential neighborhoods.

At least, it sure sounds like the guy calling himself "Tom Amico" is my guy.

About a year ago, I was in my driveway next to my mini-truck (which does need mucho body work; get your bids in now) when two fellows drove up in a white pick-up and the guy on the passenger side yelled something at me.

As his buddy remained behind the wheel, the fellow got out and immediately tried to sell me on having him do on-the-spot work to remove dents and cover scratches. He explained he worked in his uncle's body shop and had access to tools and other stuff he could use to do professional quality work right in my driveway.

I said no thanks, but he pressed on, looking over the whole truck and giving me a ridiculously low bid. Fortunately, I couldn't (and still can't) afford the low bid, but with each "no" he kept going lower. I believe he might've got down to $90.

Anyway, this guy was seriously tweaking HARD--I imagined my $90 going directly to the nearest meth dealer--and the fellow behind the wheel did not resemble an angel, not that that means anything. It's just the whole thing creeped me out. After holding my ground, and simply walking into my house and locking the door behind me, they finally took off.

Here's the report Newport Beach police took regarding a Jan. 19 incident: A "Tom Amico" approached a resident offering to fix scratches, the rear bumper and the broken door handle on his car for $1,400. The resident agreed, and "Tom" and his pal began working on the car.

But they later said they would have to order a new door handle. Arrangement were made to have them return Jan. 21. On that day, "Tom" returned and said he needed another $1,500 so that he could get a $3,000 rebate, offering to give the resident $2,700 back and keep the rest of the repairs.

The resident handed over the $1,500 and never saw "Tom" again. The repairman was later described as 5-foot-7 with a medium build, brown hair and facial hair, which pretty much describes my guy except for the "tweaky" part.

But then, on Jan. 23, a Balboa Island man was approached by two Latino men who'd parked their white pick-up truck outside his garage and then proceeded to start working on the rear bumper of the guy's car. Once they finished polishing the bumper, they told the resident $450 was owed for the work. The resident refused to pay, and the fellow's eventually left. (Hat tip to

Anyone with information about these fellows is asked to call Newport Beach cops at 949.644.3717.

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