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Milan man’s truck engine left in pieces after it was worked on at Bert Motorsports

EAST MOLINE, Illinois-- Rusty Schweickhardt took his Hummer to Bert Motorsports and Auto Repair to have a locked engine fixed in March 2018. But he never expected to get his truck back from the East Moline shop with the engine sitting on the front seat.

"My truck was in pieces," Schweickhardt said. "He had the motor completely ripped apart and sitting inside my truck on top of my interior seats."

Schweickhardt picked up his truck in July after waiting months for owner Jason Bert to repair it.

"It was just excuse after excuse," Schweickhardt said. "[Bert] said my truck would be done any day. This went on for several weeks."

Schweickhardt said Bert asked him to bring the truck back in July so Bert could make it right. Schweickhardt took him up on the offer, but weeks passed and he still didn't have a running vehicle.

"I've got four kids, and it's a nice safe vehicle for those kids to be in," Schweickhardt said. "And not having that and having to rely on rides here and there, it's pretty stressful.

"I would like to get my truck fixed, and see this guy not do this to anybody else anymore."

But according to formal complaints and Facebook posts, there are others just as unhappy with the service they received at Bert Motorsports.

The Illinois Attorney General has received two complaints against Bert Motorsports last year. One was about an engine that kept leaking oil after Bert Motorsports worked on it. In the other complaint, someone had paid Bert for a trailer they never received.

On Facebook, people have posted about having to wait weeks for parts and problems with their cars after they were worked on at Bert Motorsports.

In March, Black Hawk Bank tried to repossess 34 cars and 17 trailers because Bert fell behind on his mortgage payment, according to Rock Island County court records. Next thing Schweickhardt knew, he had to pick up his truck from a closed shop.

And the Secretary of State Police said Bert gave up his licenses to sell vehicles, trailers and motorcycles after buyers had trouble getting their titles.

Bert declined an interview with News 8 on the advice of his lawyer.

Now, two mechanics who work in two different shops are working to put Schweickhardt's Hummer back together free of charge.

Brian Lopez and Todd Malmstrom, unaffiliated with Bert Motorsports and Auto Repair, got together after seeing Schweickhardt's posts on Facebook about his truck.

"We talked about it," said Lopez, who owns Brian's Back Alley Garage. "Told [Schweickhardt], 'Don't worry about it.' He said later in life he'd like to pay us back, but I told him don't worry about it. And that's it. Everything happens for a reason."

Lopez and Malmstrom, from Dynamic Power Racing Technology, are each doing their share to put Schweickhardt's truck back together.

"Looks like he basically got nothing for his money," Malmstrom said. "We're going to do whatever we can to absorb some of that cost for him."

Schweickhardt's invoice shows he paid Bert $4,202 to fix his locked-up engine. Schweickhardt said he probably won't ever get that money back.

Lopez and Malmstrom expected to take about three weeks to have Schweickhardt's car up and running, but Schweickhardt said Lopez injured his foot and the engine should now be done in the coming weeks.

"It feels a lot better," he said. "It's a big relief, and big burden off my chest. It feels amazing really, to tell you the truth. To have these guys come out and willing to help me, I'm just kind of speechless."

Malmstrom and Lopez said they know there are many people who need work done on their cars after Bert Motorsports closed. They said they could work on everyone's cars for free if only they were millionaires.

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