CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) – Police are moving ahead with felony theft charges against the owner of an auto shop who for years has faced unhappy customers in small claims court.
A two-month long KXAN investigation into Josh’s Used Tires and Wheels revealed Josh Rosa faced nine civil court actions since 2007 and was the subject of at least two complaints to the Texas Attorney General Office. In most of those cases, former customers complained they were:
- Charged more than the quoted price
- Asked to pay for unauthorized work
- Sold wrong-sized or damaged tires
“It seemed okay until that evening I was driving off of Highway 183 and I heard this rumbling sound,” said Mijiza Parker, a former customer at the shop. “As soon as I got onto the service road, the tire exploded.”
“The car was just shaking violently,” she added. Just a day earlier Parker had four tires replaced on her compact car for what she thought was a fair price of $200, civil court records showed.
Not only did she receive tires that had apparent problems, but Parker also says her regular mechanic later told her that Rosa’s crew did not even balance the tires, a move that possibly lead to the shaking she described before the blow out.
“I’m sure if I was still on the highway doing 70 it would have been bad,” she said.
When Parker called Cedar Park Police for help, she was told it was a civil matter and she needed to sue for damages.
Of nine civil actions KXAN looked at, seven were either settled or dismissed. That includes two cases where the plaintiff didn’t show up. Two rulings favored Rosa.
Parker was not the first to file a formal complaint. Police records show since 2007, they received 71 other requests for aid or advice on filing civil complaints.
During that same time, police records show officers were called out to Josh’s Used Tires dozens of times to handle customer disputes, including 13 disturbances and 34 citizen assist calls.
Late last year, detectives began to receive complaints about Josh’s Used Tires that rose to the criminal level due to the amount of money involved. That led to two felony theft complaints and Rosa’s arrest in January. He bonded out of Williamson County jail soon afterward.
“This has become a ‘buyer beware’ situation,” said Cedar Park Police Sgt. Scott Buchanan. “It shouldn’t be like that.”
In one case, a charging document shows Rosa’s staff double charged for replacement car parts.
In both felony cases, it’s alleged auto parts that were supposed to be replaced were ‘just spray painted with black paint.’
KXAN left several messages for Rosa that he did not return.
A recent visit to the shop resulted in the following on-camera conversation between KXAN Investigator Robert Maxwell and a man at the service counter who said he was watching the place for Rosa:
- RM: We’ve got complaints there are vehicles coming out of here that are unsafe to be on the road. Do you know about that?
- Man: No sir. I have no idea what you’re talking about.
- RM: No? Can I show you these complaints?
- Man: I don’t have time right now.
- RM: This is pretty important. If it was my vehicle coming out of here where work hadn’t been done, do you know what I mean?
- Man: To be honest, this is an ongoing issue and I have nothing to say to y’all. So y’all can have a nice day.
Staff admitted the owner had not been seen since he bonded out of Williamson County jail.
Acting on tips they had received, a police SWAT team entered Rosa’s business last December searching for evidence of a criminal enterprise. Nothing was found that day.
Rosa’s criminal background includes a history of charges consisting of assault, theft, DWI, tampering with a government record and illegal dumping, in addition to the most recent felony theft charges.
Parker ended up losing her court case since she refused Rosa’s offer for another set of replacement tires. But today, four years after her ordeal, she wants Josh’s Used Tires to be closed down.
“I could have lost my life,” she said. “And there’s several others who could have lost their lives..aas well. (It’s) just a matter of time.”
Long term solution?
So how could this or any similar business be forced to shut down? We checked and the Texas Attorney General’s office could conduct its own investigation into deceptive business practices or any tax-related crimes.
The attorney general’s office won’t say if they are currently investigating Josh’s Used Tires and Wheels. That would only become public after any final ruling.
Customers can make formal complaints against a mechanic or any small business through the attorney general’s website.
The attorney general’s office investigated three separate customer complaints in recent years against Josh’s Used Tires. In those, reports of incorrect tire size and unauthorized work reappeared. Records show each case is now closed. The outcome is not shown.
No date has been set for Rosa’s district court appearance on the two felony charges out of Cedar Park.