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Man Accused Of Taking Money For Upholstery Work And Disappearing

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CBS4's Jodi Brooks with Cipriano Garcia (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Jodi Brooks with Cipriano Garcia (credit: CBS)

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – A man has collected people’s furniture and deposits for re-upholster work, but now he’s disappeared with the money, leaving behind the unfinished work.

CBS4 viewers contacted 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks for help. She’s now working to get their furniture back.

Cipriano Garcia ran Custom Upholstery by Cipriano and rented a warehouse space in March and he collected all lot of work from customers. The furniture means something to someone if they were willing to pay to have it redone. Now the warehouse management wants to return the furniture to its rightful owners.

Brooks has been trying to work with Garica for three months, and at the same time trying to help Lashay Canady.

“I would say my first inkling, when my hair stood up, was I gave him a check that day,” Canady said. “Two hours later he had already cashed the check.”

Last October Canady needed a couch re-upholstered. She agreed to pay Garica $700 for the job and gave him a deposit of $400. Weeks passed by and she heard nothing from Garcia.

“I call his cellphone number, I call the work number, and sometimes I call the cellphone number to fill up the voicemail to say, ‘Call me, call me. I’m serious about this,’ ” Canady said.

Another viewer contacted Brooks by email. She gave Garcia a swivel chair valued at about $2,500. She paid a partial payment of $707 and now feels duped.

There’s also Judy Speas.

“Mine was $700,” Speas said.

She paid in full to have her six kitchen chairs done and went to the Wheat Ridge Police Department when her calls weren’t returned.

“He felt a tremendous amount of pressure. That’s the only reason I think I got my chairs done,” Speas said.

Speas was fortunate, because when Garcia started her project — and Canady’s — he worked in Wheat Ridge. The landlord said he was evicted for not paying rent.

When Brooks met Garcia he explained he had a new location, but didn’t want to talk about specific clients.

“No, no. Turn off the camera. I’m not willing to talk to you,” Garcia told Brooks.

Garcia did set up shop in a warehouse and claims he’s had some big-name clients such as former football star Jerry Rice, Steve Jobs of Apple, and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

What’s interesting is that Canady has used Garcia’s service in the past. He re-upholstered a couch for her.

“He did a great job, and great workmanship,” Canady said.

Speas was a repeat customer as well.

“His work is, I would say, superior,” Speas said.

Brooks spent weeks trying to find Garcia. He has since been evicted again and left behind everything. If he has someone’s furniture and it’s not at the warehouse, it’s possible he has it stored in a self storage unit. If he doesn’t pay his self storage rent by Thursday morning at 11 a.m., the storage facility wants to help people get their furniture back.

Somehow Garcia fell on some bad luck.

“He has an extreme amount of knowledge about upholster work,” Speas said.

People trusted him.

“It took me awhile to save up for it,” Canady said.

The money may be gone, but maybe not their furniture. Anyone who thinks Garcia has stored their furniture should show the 70th Avenue Self Storage management an invoice or photo for proof.

70th Avenue Self Storage
981 E. Hwy 224 Unit A
Denver, CO  80229
(303)288-1111
info@70thaveselfstorage.com

Garcia left all his records that should identify what belongs to whom.

Wheat Ridge police have an open criminal investigation into Garcia.

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