Repair shop closure leaves customers searching for missing lawnmowers, snow blowers

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The sudden closure of a repair shop on the northwest side of Indianapolis has left several customers wondering where to find their lawnmowers and snow blowers.

At least half a dozen customers of Elson’s Small Engine Repair, in the 7600 block of Michigan Road, have called IMPD to report lost or stolen property since the unannounced closure of the business several weeks ago. According to police reports, the customers had left lawnmowers and other equipment at the shop for repairs. But when they went to check on their property, they found the building empty and their equipment gone.

In the most recent complaint, reported Tuesday, a woman said she left her snow blower at Elson’s on December 30 for a repair. When she went to pick up the snow blower, she found the business closed, the phone disconnected, and her snow blower nowhere to be found.

Several other reports describe similar circumstances, leaving property owners with no information about where to find their lawnmowers and snow blowers.

Bruce Jennings, a longtime customer of Elson’s, says he planned to bring a generator to the shop for repairs a few weeks ago. But when he called the business, nobody answered.

“Voice message said we’re closed on Mondays,” Jennings said. “So I stopped by on a Tuesday or Wednesday and the place was closed.”

“A couple days later, I went by and the lot was empty and everything was gone,” Jennings said.

A sign in the window at Elson’s refers customers needing lawnmower repairs or services to another business called Lynhurst Lawnmower, located in the 4200 block of West Michigan Street. The owner of that shop, Steve Cobb, says customers thought the sign meant Elson’s had moved to a different location. He says several Elson’s customers have come to his business looking for their missing lawnmowers. But Cobb says the sign was placed by the original family owners of Elson’s as a way to refer new customers to Lynhurst Lawnmowers after the most recent Elson’s owner closed the shop down.

Cobb says he’s had to tell several people that he never had their missing property and he doesn’t know where they are.

“For the most part, people understand after we explain to them because they did read the sign and it does say on the sign that we have no affiliation,” Cobb said. “Some are upset, and rightfully so.”

Cobb says he sympathizes with customers who’ve lost their equipment, and he’s encouraging everyone who comes to him to file a police report on the matter.

“I hope this can get resolved, I really do,” Cobb said. “Because this isn’t good for our industry as a whole, I don’t care what shop you go to.”