Witness on raided Tri-Cities dealership: ‘They had a kind of funny operation’

PETERSBURG, Va. -- The man who leased space for one of two Tri-City dealerships raided by Department of Motor Vehicle law enforcement investigators on Thursday described the businesses as having unusual practices.

"They had a kind of funny operation anyway because they wouldn't come in to work until 12 or one o'clock and they would leave at about 4 o'clock everyday," said Roy Huffman, owner of Service Center in Petersburg.

DMV officials confirmed investigators executed search warrants at Tri-City Auto Sales in the 300 block of the Boulevard in Colonial Heights, Auto Sales of Virginia Inc. in the 1100 block of East Washington Street in Petersburg, and an undisclosed residence in the area.

Huffman said he has owned the building that currently houses his auto repair shop and Auto Sales of Virginia Inc. for about 30 years. He said he has leased the office space to two men who moved in about 14 months ago.

"They complained they weren't selling a lot of cars, but they weren't putting much effort into it," Huffman said.

Virginia State Police and Colonial Heights Police assisted in the searches, but they say the DMV is leading the investigation.

CBS 6 was on the scene when investigators removed a computer and other items from the business in Colonial Heights. K-9 units were also spotted at the scene.

Huffman described driving onto his property and seeing 15 to 20 investigators going in and out of the front of the building.

"I thought at first when I pulled up we were really busy today, but of course that wasn't the case," he remarked.

Huffman said the men had always paid their rent on time and were friendly.

"I think the raid was a surprise to everyone," he said. "I imagine I'll have a for lease sign out front shortly."

Both dealerships were closed on Friday. CBS 6 has reached out to the DMV for more information regarding the nature of the investigation.

Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.