We completed work on a roof and the person we completed the work for did not pay in full so we are holding tools for collateral. Then they stated that they did not feel that they owed any money (we do have proof that at first they admitted to the debt) even yesterday they were saying they didn't owe. Then all of a sudden they called today saying they were going to pay and wanted to meet today to make the exchange. It makes me nervous because of the sudden change. I just want to know if we show up with the tools and they don't have the payment will the police make us give the tools back or will they say this is civil.
You should hire an attorney and place a "mechanics lien" against the property. You only have a limited amount of time (30 or 60 days) to do this following the completion of the work so you should not delay.