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CMPD arrest man for murder of Costa Mesa repair shop owner

Former employee is taken into custody on suspicion of murder after Garbis ‘Gary’ Yaghlagian, 60, was found dead from a gunshot wound at Gary’s Automotive

Costa Mesa, Calif.–The Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD) has arrested a former auto repair employee on suspicion of murder after a business owner of Gary’s Automotive was found dead in his office last week.

At approximately 3:22 p.m. on Monday, June 8, CMPD received a call from a woman at a business located in the 1900 block of Harbor Boulevard. The caller was a customer who contacted the police after she discovered the business owner unresponsive and slumped over in his office, according to a CMPD news release. Police officers and detectives immediately responded to the scene. The owner of the business, 60-year-old Garbis “Gary” Yaghlagian, was found in his office deceased with a gunshot wound.

Garbis “Gary” Yaghlagian was found in his office deceased with a gunshot wound.

During the investigation, officers learned that Francisco Javier Castaneda, 31, a transient, was an employee at the location and was seen leaving the business after a loud bang was heard.

Shortly thereafter, Castaneda was reported to CMPD as a suspicious unknown man, with a matching description, walking in in the area of Victoria Street and Harbor Boulevard. Castaneda was quickly located and arrested. He was booked in the Costa Mesa jail on one count of murder and was subsequently transported to OC Jail with no bail.

One day later, CMPD detectives located the firearm believed to be used in this crime.

Francisco Javier Castaneda was booked on one count of murder.

Hire with due diligence

In light of this event, industry trainer Maylan Newton had this advice to share with shop owners and managers: “You must do you due diligence when hiring employees, which is something I’ve said for years. Our industry hires too quickly and fires too slowly. Please seek legal advice before you do any type of background checks, personality testing, because a lot of those have been challenged in the state of California. You also need to have a solid process and procedure for hiring the right people. Do not hire emotionally, which most people do.”

Newton also provided Aftermarket Matters Weekly with additional hiring tips here.

Gary’s Automotive is located at 1995 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa.

Comments from Gary Automotive customers

The following is a collection of reviews and comments on Yaghlagian’s shop, which has a 4.8 star rating on Google:

“Gary is an great person and an even better mechanic! Self-made man with great karma because he believes in helping others , but you better come correct because he doesn’t mess around.
He is honest and professional and you won’t find a better mechanic.”

“Have you ever had a mechanic that is the reason you can still drive your car?  Gary is that guy.
I swear he can fix anything! We have 5 cars, only 1 of them is new, the rest are well-loved ancient members of our car family. Gary is a Gem.”

“Had my rear brakes done there and Gary and his team are some of the greatest guys I’ve ever met. Customer for life now.”

“I would recommend this place to anybody that wants honest work. The shop owner is very knowledgeable and more than happy to fix any problem. If you don’t know much about cars, fear not, because you get high quality work without the fear the shop is just trying to run your wallet dry. Thanks for all the work you’ve done for me so far.”

“Gary is a miracle worker!”

“What impressed us most was not just his honesty and friendliness, when Porsche didn’t have my part Gary MADE it on his lathe! Old world craftsmanship and hands on experience about how things “work!”

“Rest in peace Gary … You’ll be greatly missed.”

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