Bridgeview auto shop owner charged after counterfeit airbags fou - KMSP-TV

Bridgeview auto shop owner charged after counterfeit airbags found

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Grzegorz Lepkowski and Stanislaw Gondek (Photo courtesy of Cook County Sheriff's office) Grzegorz Lepkowski and Stanislaw Gondek (Photo courtesy of Cook County Sheriff's office)
BRIDGEVIEW (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Two men were charged after customs agents found two-dozen counterfeit airbags at an auto shop in southwest suburban Bridgeview.

Stanislaw Gondek, owner of G7 Auto Diagnostics in the 7200 block of 90th Place in Bridgeview, was charged with one felony count of counterfeit trademarks, the Cook County Sheriff's office said in a release.

The investigation began after officials seized a shipment of counterfeit air bags from China last week, the release said.

Sheriff's police and customs officials visited the shipping address in the 7900 block of West Leonora Lane in Elmwood Park on Feb. 7, the release said.

Officials learned the resident there, Grzegorz Lepkowski, had ordered the airbags for Gondek, his friend, the release said.

Authorities then searched Gondek's Bridgeview business with his consent and found 31 airbags for Honda, Mazda, Ford, Lexus, Toyota, Chevrolet and Volkswagen vehicles. Twenty-four of were counterfeit, authorities claim.

Testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows counterfeit airbags malfunction consistently, the sheriff's office said. Some don't deploy at all, while others release metal shrapnel.

Customs authorities had previously told Gondek three different times that they had seized counterfeit airbags meant to be shipped to his Bridgeview business, the release said.

Gondek was ordered released on his own recognizance at a bond hearing Saturday, authorities said. Lepkowski was charged with a misdemeanor count of counterfeit trademarks.

Vehicle owners who think a counterfeit air bag may have been installed in their cars can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at www.safecar.gov.

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