Cameras catch scam suspects in act

Undercover detective recognizes Santino Mitchell, Vinny Uwich as suspects in car dent scam

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - Local 10 cameras catch two men who police said rip off drivers as part of an auto repair scam.

Undercover detectives identified one of the men as 24-year-old Santino Mitchell.

An undercover detective who specializes in scams said he recognized Mitchell.

"This is one of the scams he does on a regular basis. I have seen him doing it before," said the undercover detective.

Police records show Mitchell was arrested in 2010 for an auto repair scam in New York.

"These individuals are transient offenders. They move from place to place committing these types of scams," added the undercover detective.

Mitchell and another man, identified by police as Vinny Uwich, approached a driver at the Race Trac on West Hallandale Beach Boulevard in Pembroke Park.

Santino Mitchell (left, pink shirt) and Vinny Uwich (background, black hoodie), who police say rip off drivers as part of an auto repair scam.

The victim said Mitchell showed him a minor dent in the hood that he had never seen before and convinced the victim that the hood was jammed shut.

"He said he worked at Lexus and they had their tools on them," said the victim, who asked not to be identified.

For $400 dollars, Mitchell promised to fix the problem.

"They were convincing. I said yes without thinking," said the victim.

The victim said they then lured him from the gas station to a nearby parking lot.

Video tape showed Mitchell and Uwich had wrapped a metal cable around a light pole, attached it to the hood of the Lexus, and were using a pulley to align the hood.

When confronted by Local 10's Jeff Weinsier, Mitchell became irate and threatened to break his camera.

Mitchell and Uwich left the parking lot before Broward Sheriff's Office deputies arrived.

The victim said Mitchell did more damage to his car and it him cost $1,300 to have it fixed.

Police said the work is always substandard and by the time you realize it, the two are gone.

"Looking back on it, I can't believe I said yes to these characters," said the victim.

Experts say just say no if work is offered. If they insist, call police with a tag number and vehicle description.

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