Holidays, recession mean big business for repo men

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - As businesses bomb and families struggle to pay the bills, one industry is booming. Right now, the repo man is cashing in. One local company says the holidays are one of their busiest times of the year.

Folks at Tri-State Auto Recovery, Inc. say they've repossessed cars from upper-middle class neighborhoods, apartment buildings,  and even a homeless shelter. It's a sad shocking trend that company leaders say is up about 15% and it doesn't show any signs of stopping.

Office Manager Ed Krebs says they repossess 15 to 30 cars, campers, and tractor trailers a day. It all adds up to big business. Krebs said they rake in between $250 to $2,000 per vehicle.

Their workers are part detective but all businessmen. Banks and other lenders hire the company to track down people who owe them money.

"We find out information as far as where they live; where they work; their relatives; and some other tips of the trade that I really wouldn't want to tell everybody," Krebs said.

Krebs said their workers try to grab the vehicles when owners aren't around.

"We usually don't like to make contact," Krebs said. "We take the car and talk to you later."

Employees then bring the vehicles back to their three-acre lot in Delhi.

Krebs said holiday business will continue well into March. He said that's when it's time to pay for presents; leaving little for car payments.

"This is a tough business all year round, and yes Christmas does make it a little worse," Krebs said. "Nobody likes to take anybody's car. Nobody likes to be in this type of business. It's not my most favorite thing in the world, however I'm a professional at what I do. I try to treat anyone with the utmost respect."

Keeping with the spirit of the season, this year Tri-State Auto did something unprecedented. They locked the tow-trucks and closed shop on Christmas Day.

"A lot of our clients asked that we not pick cars up on Christmas," said Krebs. "So we did take a couple days off this year which is very unusual. "

But this week it's back to business. Krebs said they do clean out the cars once they get them. Folks are allowed to pick up personal items at their office.

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