RALEIGH, N.C. — The state is taking over a case Five On Your Side first reported about Newton Brothers Moving and Storage last month.
In October, Newton Brothers moved from its Raleigh location to a Garner warehouse, then abandoned the business.
Customers, like Doris Martin, were not informed about the move.
"I'm not an overly emotional person, but it was very upsetting," she said. Martin spent a recent Saturday searching the crates and eventually found her belongings.
Twenty-four complaints are filed against the company with the Better Business Bureau. The state Attorney General's Office has received 10 complaints against Newton Brothers. Owner Todd Newton seems to have disappeared.
North Carolina Utilities Commission
got a court order to take over the records of the moving company. It hopes the information leads to the people who own the furniture that fills the 80 or so crates at the Garner location.
Pam Stanley, executive director of the North Carolina Movers Association, said none of this surprises her since Newton Brothers is not certified as required by the state.
Certification means the state believes a company has the wherewithal to run its business. Stanley said what is worse is that many moving companies are not certified.
In late July, Stanley urged the Utilities Commission to send a letter to Newton Brothers and 168 other suspected illegal movers. It did. The letter threatened fines if the companies did not get certified.
Newton Brothers and many others did not respond, but the Utilities Commission did not follow-up.
"[I'm] frustrated. I mean I've done all I can do," Stanley said. The ball's in their court. There's got to be something done to protect the public."
Barbara Sharpe, who in charge of mover certification for the Utilities Commission, agrees. She blames the lack of follow-up on too little time and resources.
"With hindsight, we always wish we could have done better in the past. But as I said, we're learning from that and we've learned our lessons and hopefully in the future we'll have a more aggressive action plan for catching these illegals and getting them certificated," Sharpe said.
Five On Your Side was unable to reach company owner Todd Newton. All phone numbers for him are disconnected.
Anyone with items in storage with Newton Brothers should call the Utilities Commission at (919 733-9277.