IMPD raids south side car lot

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Investigators raided a south side used car lot named in a lawsuit with the Indiana Attorney General Wednesday morning.

It happened at Empire Auto Group on Madison Avenue near Troy Avenue, formerly known as the Circle City Auto Exchange.

Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department units took a man into custody and hauled away more than a dozen boxes of documents.

Police declined to comment on why they raided the property.

Karina Martinez is looking for answers. She saw police raiding the lot on the news so she drove over to ask them for help.

Martinez said she bought a used car from Empire about a week ago. Since then, she’s noticed a faulty trunk and a hole in the bottom of the car.

She said a check engine light turned on a day after she bought he car.

“I just want to get this situation fixed. I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Martinez said. “I just didn’t want to end losing everything we invested in the car just because they weren’t honest about the car problems.”

Last month, the Indiana Attorney General’s office added Empire Auto Group to a civil lawsuit against Circle City Auto.

The suit said Empire and other lots sold damaged cars without proper titles. According to the Attorney General, Empire sold cars that insurance companies had deemed “a total loss.”

The Attorney General’s office said they had nothing to do with the raid that occurred on Wednesday morning.

Shawn Deppe said he runs a used car lot near Empire. Deppe said people call him at least once a week to complain about a Empire. He said those people encountered problems similar to Martinez’s.

“You name it. Any crooked thing in the car business, I think, has happened here,” Deppe said. “In the used car industry, it makes us all look bad.”

The business is licensed with the Secretary of State’s Office, according to online records. Kiona Waters is listed as the owner.

A man standing on the Empire lot Wednesday asked a 24-Hour News 8 reporter to leave the property. The man said he had no comment on the investigation, and when asked for a way to contact Empire Auto’s attorney, the man told the reporter to “look it up online.”

To read more about the case filed against Circle City Auto Exchange see the court filings below: