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Valley Police Beat: Smog check shops raided

November 10, 2012

EL CENTRO - After a 10-month investigation, two city smog check shops were raided earlier this week by the Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Automotive Repair and El Centro Police Department.

Both search warrants were served Tuesday and citations for two technicians are expected to be issued next week, said William Zelenka, San Diego field office supervisor of the Department of Consumer Affairs.

 The first search warrant was served around 9 a.m. at the smog check shop located on Fifth and West State streets, at which time a large truck was seen parked next to the shop, and DCA officers as well as El Centro police were seen speaking with workers at the shop.

“They are smogging the cars without the cars being here,” alleged Zelenka, adding that the CDA has videotape of the technicians performing illegal smog check on a consistent basis.

Zelenka alleged that the technician charged about $30 per illegal smog check to customers who owned California-licensed vehicles in Mexico.

The technician would hook his family car to the machine and then enter the wrong information, he said.

Smog checks cost about $200 to $250.

The technician in the first location, whose name wasn’t revealed, also sustained that illegal smog checking was something many technicians in the Valley did, according to Zelenka.

“We intend to stop that,” he said.

Officers left soon after the needed evidence was gathered to serve the second search warrant at a business located on Fourth Street and Holt Avenue. There officers gathered documentation and the smog check machine.

Both technicians remain free, Zelenka said, but both will be cited in to court and face a maximum of four years if convicted.



Dog stolen from pound

A German shepherd was taken from the city pound Thursday.

The incident was reported shortly after midnight, according to the logs.  The 3-year-old German shepherd was worth about $145. The reporting party said he left the dog at the city pound and later found the lock cut and the pen empty.

No suspect information was available and no evidence was reported found.   

— Alejandro Davila, adavila@ivpressonline.com

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