Troubleshooter: Marine without motorcycle

Sgt. Amber Turley

August 16, 2010 3:45:35 PM PDT
A Marine has been left without her motorcycle after a Raleigh business closed up shop.The Marine's motorcycle had been sitting in the shop for a custom rebuild for more than a year and a half.

Sgt. Amber Turley says while there have been problems with the rebuild, she ran into the biggest problems right before she was getting ready to head back to Afghanistan.

Turley says she loved her motorcycle so much that she was willing to spend more than $13,000 on a custom rebuild.

"I wanted to have the bike customized to my vision and to reflect my personality and taste and just glam it up a little bit," she said.

Turley paid Iron Thunder $3,000 to start the job and left for duty overseas.

"That was a huge motivation for me to keep slinging away over there and doing the work I was doing," she said.

While she was overseas Iron Thunder went through new ownership and her rebuild was stalled.

In June, when she got back to Raleigh she says the project got back on track.

"Went in selected parts and left," Turley said. "As far as I knew the parts were being ordered and we're moving forward with the project."

But weeks later, she received a letter from the owner of Iron Thunder, Mark Melton. He informed her they're out of business and she needs to contact the property owner to pick up her bike.

"Which was still in a thousand pieces at that point, which I was disturbed ? that I would have to take a wheel barrel to go collect my motorcycle," Turley said.

So she contacted the property owner, Davis Stallings.

"He was not willing to provide me access; I would have to go through the owner Mark Melton," she said.

Turley tried to contact Melton, but she says it got her nowhere.

"So I wasn't getting assistance with either one, so I got my attorney involved and he made some phone calls and that's when the property owner David Stallings granted me access to my bike," she said.

But as Turley went to pick up her bike in pieces, she learned she now owed the property owner $400 in storage fees.

"I thought it was completely bogus, I was never informed there was a storage fee and then I was denied access," she said.

Turley reluctantly paid the $400 and got the pieces of her bike only to learn that all the expensive parts were missing.

"The heads of the engines, the fender, the paint cover," she said. "I'm out about $8,000 or $9,000 right now," she said.

Turley says even worse, she's getting ready to head back to Afghanistan within the next few weeks.

"I work in a combat zone," she said. "This is not the kind of stress I need to take over there."

Turley then got in touch with ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, who contacted the property owner, David Stallings.

His attorney says Stallings was only acting under the advice of law enforcement of what his rights are when a business shuts down without notice, which he claims Stallings is owed thousands of dollars from the business owner.

But given the circumstances of Turley, he said it was only fair to reimburse her the $400 in storage fees.

"I was definitely relieved just one last thing I have to worry about," she said.

Now Turley says she just has to tackle what happened to her expensive parts that are missing.

Stallings' attorney says his client has no idea what happened to them and is not involved in any wrong doing.

The owner of Iron Thunder, who shut down the business, says he has no idea why any parts are missing, because when he left the business he believes the parts were there.

However, he does say he has inventory to sell and if any money is left over, he will pay for Turley's parts, because he wants her to have them.

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