If you sell cars, you’ve probably had your share of jokes from “hilarious” customers who crack wise about making off with the car they are test-driving, but most car-shoppers are indeed only joking about committing grand theft auto. Then there’s the Florida man accused of using a test drive to help himself to a $150,000 Maserati.
According to police, a 45-year-old man visited a Fort Lauderdale dealership on Tuesday and asked to go for a test drive in the luxury vehicle, reports the Palm Beach Post, and a salesman agreed to go with him.
The suspect said he wanted to drive to a resort and club in Boca Raton so he could show the car to his girlfriend, the arrest report says. Once they arrived at the club, the two men apparently got out of the car and walked over to the boat dock, where the man said he wanted to show the salesman his father’s boat. He left the salesman there and said he’d return shortly with his girlfriend.
Cut to 30 minutes later when the salesman finally started to get suspicious, and headed for the club’s valet parking service to pick up the car… which wasn’t there anymore. A valet supervisor told him he saw the suspect jump into the Maserati and take off.
It wasn’t too hard for police to track down the missing vehicle: The suspect had presented his driver’s license before he was allowed to take the wheel, and the valet supervisor claimed to have known him for years. Those factors, plus surveillance video at the dealership, brought detectives face to face with the suspect at an arranged meeting at Starbucks the next day.
After affirming that the valet supervisor recognized him, the suspect refused to answer any more questions and was arrested. He’s now facing a charge of grand larceny of $100,000 or more and is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail. It’s unclear what happened to the Maserati.
As one might expect, this kind of thing has happened before:
• Just last year, a Pennsylvania driver was accused of putting up a stolen Lexus as collateral and then stealing a Mercedes from a dealership during a test drive.
• In 2013, a Florida man was arrested after allegedly taking a pickup truck out for a test drive and failing to return with the vehicle afterward.