I am sorry to hear this;
generally the police won't get involved if there is a civil remedy, and for auto repair disputes there is a civil remedy.
NJ has a very comprehensive consumer protection statute codified at N.J.A.C. §13:45A-26C.2. It states the following is required (i.e. written authorization):
i. Specific written authorization from the customer, signed by the customer, which states the nature of the repair requested or problem presented and the odometer reading of the vehicle; or
ii. If the customer's vehicle is presented to the automotive repair dealer during other than normal working hours or by one other than the customer, oral authorization from the customer to proceed with the requested repair or problem presented, evidenced by a notation on the repair order and/or invoice of the repairs requested or problem presented, date, time, name of person granting such authorization, and the telephone number, if any, at which said person was contacted.
Per the case Jiries v. BP Oil, any authorization must be specific, not vague (294 N.J. Super. 225), or it is a per se violation (violation in fact).
If customer fails to pay a repair bill after authorizing the charges, the repair shop has the right to refuse to return the car until the bill is paid, so it becomes a lien N.J.S.A. 2A:44-20, et seq.The repair shop must give written notice of the lien and 30 days to pay the bill before the car may be sold to satisfy the lien. Also, the repair shop may add charges to the bill for storage of the car.
But again, authorization is required in order for a repair shop to obtain a lien.
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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.