Contractor who took money can't hide from 3OYSPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- 3 On Your Side had been trying to track down Chris Vezilj, the previous owner of a Valley shutter company, for a while.
After ripping off thousands of dollars from customers, Vezilj vanished. That is, until 3 On Your Side tracked him down selling cars.
In 3 On Your Side's first report, Vezilj owned a business called Park Avenue Shutters and Blinds.
One of his customers, Virginia Mendoza, told 3 On Your Side she knew the company well because she gave Vezilj $2,100 for new window treatments.
“I wanted to get shutters here, because I really don't like the curtains,” Vezilj said.
Mendoza told 3 On Your Side that Vezilj abruptly closed down his business and vanished with her $2,100.
Another customer, Jessica Chubirka, told 3 On Your Side the same thing. She claims she handed over $1,500 and then Vezilj disappeared.
Harper asked viewers for their help in trying to track down Vezilj. One viewer did just that, telling 3 On Your Side that he can now be found selling cars.
And that's exactly where 3 On Your Side found him.
“What would you tell the customers who you ripped off?” 3 On Your Side reporter Gary Harper asked Vezilj. “And that's what it boils down to. You ripped them off.”
“I didn’t do that,” Vezilj said.
“Yeah, you did,” Harper said. “What about the Mendozas?"
“I didn't rip anybody off,” Vezilj insisted. “I lost everything, too, in the business.”
“Well, what would you say to them?” Harper asked.
“I'm sorry?” Vezilj said.
“What would you say to them?” Harper questioned him.
“I feel terrible how everything happened,” he said.
Vezilj went on to say that the shutter business declined so much, he was forced to shut down.
However, Vezilj also acknowledged that he continued taking money, knowing he was going out of business.
“It's not like I took it or used it for myself,” Vezilj said.
“Well, we don't know that,” Harper said. “And they don't know that either. They know that they gave you a lot of money, I know that they gave you a lot of money, and I know that you picked up and left in the middle of the night. That's what I know.”
However, Vezilj told Harper he wouldn’t be paying back customers any time soon because he’s out of money.
“The money thing is out?” Harper asked. “You're just barely surviving and you're not going to be able to pay them back?”
“Not right now, no,” Vezilj said.
"Not even a couple of hundred (dollars)?” Harper asked.
“No,” Vezilj said. “I can't even make - I'm having a hard time making bills. My brother is helping me out.”
As for his customers, they say it’s a shame they are out all that money. Those customers told 3 On Your Side they’re glad we got involved and at least got them the answers they needed.