A criminal investigation has begun after a number of complaints against Grand Valley Auctions in Cambridge, Ont.

Waterloo Region police say they began to notice patterns in the complaints that led them to begin an investigation on Monday.

Spokesperson Olaf Heinzel says “What we are finding from the complaints we have received so far is that they are not limited to Waterloo Region. That they extend beyond the province of Ontario, into the United States and the range is anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 per victim.”

In two weeks, police say they’ve had more than 30 complaints, which are all similar to those of Cambridge’s Nora Snyder.

More than a year ago Snyder downsized to an apartment, which didn’t offer space for her antiques and big furniture.

So she called Grand Valley Auctions to try to sell some of her pieces, and signed a contract with them.

“They took them all away and I haven’t really heard from them since,” Snyder says.

Three months ago she contacted them, she says “They said, ‘We sold everything, and the cheque will be in the mail,’ but it never came.”

Rick Borski, president of the Better Business Bureau, took a look at Snyder’s contract.

But he says unless the company declares bankruptcy or police lay charges, there’s not much a customer can do.

“It’s unfortunate that they are not really offering any avenues for a solution.”

A letter on the door of the company’s King Street location explains “Due to an unforeseen illness affecting one of the managing partners; the business can no longer continue to operate.”

It also says a relocation earlier in 2012 “significantly diminished attendance and sales volume.”

It advises that people with items that were consigned to the company will be contacted shortly “regarding the return of their goods remaining” and “efforts will be made to compensate consignees and suppliers.”

Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact: gva.inquiry@gmail.com