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Payson tire shop releases owner's truck to complete stranger

Posted at 4:23 PM, Jun 10, 2024

PAYSON, Utah — What should have been a simple drive to bring their truck for tire service ended up taking an unusual turn for a Payson couple.

When he realized there was something about his truck that he couldn't fix himself, Ward Burton dropped it off for service at Tire Busters; but oddly enough, he wasn't the one who picked it up.

"I got a call and they said, 'Did you send your wife to pick up your truck?' and I said no, it's there to get an alignment, and he said, 'Well, I guess I better call the police because some strange lady got your truck," Burton explained.

Tire Busters says something like this has never happened before.

"To make sure it never happens again, we make sure the service adviser is the one that gets the keys and gives the keys to the customer no one else," explained owner Gabriel Dunn.

The store says the woman came into the shop and told a worker her vehicle was stranded across the street and she needed a fuel can. When the worker stepped away, the woman went to one of the shop's mechanics and claimed Barton's truck was hers.

"[The employee] asked a few qualifying questions, she had the answers for them and he gave her the keys," Dunn said. "Unfortunately, when he gave her the keys, she got in the vehicle she took off."

Unified Police found the truck the next morning, which the Barton's say is in working condition, but the inside was full of junk. Police say the circumstances surrounding the incident are still under investigation.

"It was so strange, the circumstances and the way we found the truck and things that were in it, I don't know who she was or what they were doing with it," said Ward.

"We feel a little bit violated and now we're nervous," shared Ward's wife, Norma. "We did have to have the locks re-keyed, she locked it and took off with the key."

Tire Busters helped pay for some costs associated with the alleged theft, but they've since turned the matter over to insurance, and the Barton's hope they are soon compensated for their out-of-pocket costs.

"We won't ever leave our cars at a mechanic again," exclaimed Norma. "We will stay there."