HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - A man who police say runs a car repair scam attacked Local 10's Jeff Weinsier when he confronted the suspect.
Video captured the incident in the parking lot of Post Haste Plaza in Hollywood.
Police identified the man as Anthony Mitchell. Video showed him approaching Weinsier as the reporter questioned Mitchell about the car repair work he was doing in the parking lot.
Weinsier said Mitchell had his hands around his neck.
"He was trying to slap the camera out of my hand," said Weinsier.
Mitchell had approached Sagi Danan in the parking lot and offered to fix the dents and scratches in his BMW.
"He told me he could fix the car and that he worked for BMW," said Danan.
Mitchell doesn't work for BMW. He works out of the trunk of a car, say police.
Mitchell told Danan he could do the work for $200 dollars and convinced him it would cost more than $1,000 if he got it fixed at a repair shop or at BMW, according to Danan.
Mitchell used shoe polish disguised as a rubbing compound on the car and told Danan to wipe it off in a few days.
Undercover detectives say by the time you realize it's a scam, Mitchell is gone with your cash.
Mitchell ran after he was confronted by Weinsier and before Danan handed over his money.
Hollywood police were called and a report was taken.
Police: Brother performs similar auto repair scam
Santino Mitchell identified himself as a Lexus mechanic and approached a man at a gas station on Hallandale Beach Boulevard.
Mitchell offered to fix a small dent in the hood that the owner had never seen before.
When the camera began rolling, Mitchell and an accomplice identified as Vinny 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.
"They don't want people seeing or knowing what they are doing," said an undercover detective. "They operate on the fringes and, being anonymous, they don't want their pictures taken. They don't want people to be able to identify them."
In both cases, police never arrested either Mitchell.
Police on the scene said it was a civil matter, but undercover detectives differ.
'Most jurisdictions have ordinances against unlicensed auto repair or unlicensed setting. It needs to be identified as the organized crime that it is," said the undercover detective.
Weinsier filed formal battery charges against Anthony Mitchell at the State Attorney's Office.
Records show Santino Mitchell was arrested in Clarkstown, New York, in 2010 for running the same scam.
Police say if you are approached by these men in a parking lot, say no and call police.
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