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Man seen on camera casually stealing car from SLC dealership

Posted at 10:19 PM, Sep 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-11 10:59:53-04

SALT LAKE CITY — In a brazen theft in broad daylight, a car was stolen off of a dealer's lot after the suspect pretended to be interested in buying one.

It was Friday just after 5 p.m. when the man seen on surveillance tape came to TJ Chapman Auto on 2021 Redwood Road, asking for a test drive.

"This was a $27,000 car. It was a beautiful car that now we're out," general manager Lori Chapman told Fox 13 Tuesday. "We are a smaller dealership. We have an inventory of about a hundred cars."

For that reason, a loss like this can really hurt.

The dealership has 26 surveillance cameras, and they were able to catch the man on a number of them.

In the surveillance video, a salesman is seen escorting the suspect up to the main office to get the keys. Chapman said when the salesman asked for the man's driver's license — as they always do when someone wants to take a test drive — he claimed he didn't have it.

"He pats his pants and acts as if he doesn't have a drivers license," Chapman said. "It looks as though he's possibly going to go and get his drivers license, and he leaves, and our salesman leaves down the stairs."

Just a few seconds later when no one was left inside the office, the suspect made his way back up the stairs and headed straight to the key case. He grabbed the keys and casually walked right out.

"I think he knew what he was doing before he even got here," Chapman said.

After he left the dealer with the keys, he was seen on camera returning two hours later and driving off in the stolen Ford Edge.

Chapman says this isn't the first time they've had someone drive off the lot with a car they didn't purchase. She says it was just over a year ago when a woman came for a test drive and took off. They had her license in that case, but Chapman says they never found out what happened to her or the stolen vehicle.

They hope they get more answers in this case. Chapman told Fox 13 Tuesday night that police had given her an update on the case, and thanks to a recognizable tattoo on the suspect's right arm, they may have a person of interest.

If you have any information on the case, Salt Lake City Police are investigating.