MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A total of 21 cars were stolen from the United Auto Exchange, where cars are up for auction in Oakhaven.

Zein Powell, a man who works across the street from the business says he’s seen car break-ins happen there in the past but nothing like this.

“I was just here last weekend because I had to make some hoses for a guy,” Powell said. “We got in, maybe were here for 30 minutes, and left. So I don’t know if that happened before we got here or after because I didn’t pay much attention.”

Police say, on May 28, surveillance video showed a person driving into the lot and another person using a forklift to move an auction van in front of the gate. 

A third vehicle, which was an auction pickup truck, then rammed the fence and took it down.

“It definitely surprised me. Like I just saw the gate had been broken, so I figured maybe it was about that. I had no idea any amount of cars had been stolen,” Powell said.

According to police, the thieves just kept coming back, driving one car after the other out of the lot.

About a year ago, another car was broken into at the United Auto Exchange lot, Powell says.

“And then I remember my boss, he had his catalytic converter stolen off his car in our parking lot and it was just crazy,” Powell said.

The manager told police he won’t know the value of the cars stolen until he goes over his inventory. 

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Powell says he isn’t taking any chances moving forward. “We already park in the area of the parking lot with the cameras on it just to be sure,” Powell said. “We’ve been doing that since my boss had his catalytic converter stolen. So hopefully if it ever happens to me, my car will be just fine or we can find out who got it.”

It’s not clear right now if this was an inside job and no one was at United Auto Exchange when WREG went this afternoon for comment. 

We have also called their corporate line for comment and were told someone would call back but we never received a response.