“I helped you out, and you turned around and backstabbed me,” said Maick Luna, owner of Truck Star Autobody.
In March, Luna says a man that claimed he was a homeless veteran approached him at his shop located near 10th Avenue and Hatcher Road and asked for work.
“He talked about how he needed help because his wife was living on the street, so I told the guy, 'You know what, if you know how to use a sander, I can help you out just until you can get back on your feet,'” said Luna.
Luna agreed to pay the man up to $400 a week for his work.
A week later, when the Valley was hit with rain, Luna says the man asked if he and his wife could stay at the shop overnight to stay dry. Since the man was a good and prompt worker, Luna reluctantly agreed.
“This guy looked like he wanted to do something different, get back up on his feet, so I tried helping the guy,” said Luna.
One morning, Luna arrived to work to find $2,000 in tools and a customer’s 2003 Chevy Silverado worth $8,000 gone. The homeless man and his wife were also missing.
“It was taken apart getting ready for paint. He put it back together and drove it off,” said Luna.
The couple left several bags of items behind. In one of them, Luna found a medical bracelet that belonged to the man with his information on it. It was turned over to Phoenix Police.
“They need [to] respect [that] you don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” said Joseph De La Cruz, who works at the St. Vincent De Paul building down the street.
De La Cruz says, unfortunately, incidents like this happen.
“The majority of my clients are very well-mannered and respectful, but there are more than a few bad apples in a bunch that will ruin it for everybody,” said De La Cruz.
“It’s a mistake I made, obviously, but it’s not going to stop me from helping people in the future,” said Luna.
Even though the theft is a big setback for his small business, Luna says the goodness of his heart tells him to still help those in need.
“Not all people are bad people. Sometimes, you just pick the wrong ones to trust,” he said.
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