(WMC-TV) - A multi-agency bust in Memphis resulted in three locksmiths facing criminal charges. Investigators targeted people operating as locksmiths without a license.
Law requires a license to operate a locksmith business, which Glen Peifer follows as he takes pride in his family business.
"My father was a locksmith, my son, my grandson," said Glen Peifer. "Doing it by the book, doing it by the regulations, by the law."
Law prevents incidents where locksmiths show up, quote a low price, drill the lock, and destroy the lock. In this case, they destroyed the lock, and then charged the customer more money than they quoted.
"This is a nationwide problem, and it's not a new issue, it's been going on for awhile," said Peifer.
Tennessee law makes it a crime to operate without a license. Memphis Police Department, along with the Tennessee Department of Commerce busted Anibal Addesse, William Duke, and Matthew Zent on Wednesday.
Using a decoy, the two agencies used local websites to set up a locksmith service, and then arrested the men when they tried to operate without a license.
Experts say that when calling a locksmith, customers should ask to see their license and make sure it is valid, and also look for a number posted on the back of their vehicle.
"If they cannot provide you with a current TN valid license when they appear at your place of business or home you need to ask them to leave," said Melissa Bast, a Lobbyist for TN Organization of Locksmith.
Melissa Bast has been lobbying for the organization for years and is happy to see the latest arrests. It is the first she has heard since the law was passed.
"It is very, very rewarding to see that law enforcement here in Memphis has taken action against these folks that really victimize the consumers, especially in a time of emergency and need," she said. "A license is a way to show that this is a legitimate company doing the trade."