Vandals target C.O.D. car lot |

Vandals target C.O.D. car lot

by Merrie Leininger

One of Douglas County’s oldest family-owned businesses is reeling from a Thursday night vandalism that left 21 cars damaged.

Employees of C.O.D Motor Co., 1601 B Highway 395, Minden, discovered that paint remover had been thrown on 21 cars in the parking lot when employees arrived at work at 8 a.m. Friday. On many of the cars, the paint looked mottled, and some vehicles’ paint bubbled up and was peeling off in big strips.

General Manager Robb Hellwinkel said the body shop and car lot, owned by the Hellwinkel family since the early 1900s, will be affected, but will not close.

“Some vehicles will have to be totally repainted. I have no idea (how much repairs will cost) until I know what needs to be repainted. It will affect my business. I’ll be open. There were, fortunately, vehicles that were not affected,” Hellwinkel said.

He said the car lot is covered by insurance.

Investigator Rick Brown, along with other investigators and technicians, was collecting evidence at the car lot Friday morning. Brown said, based on information from a body shop employee, it is believed to be professional-quality automotive paint remover.

“Based on what the body shop employee said, it’s not your basic clean-out-your-paintbrush household paint remover,” Brown said.

Both investigators and Hellwinkel said they are investigating several leads, but don’t believe the remover came from within C.O.D.

Hellwinkel said he didn’t think the suspect or suspects were former employees.

“We do have some areas we are looking into,” Hellwinkel said.