How to Drive Away with a $76,000 Lexus. For Free.

The story you are about to read here is, amazingly, just one of what appears to be a very productive line of scams. According to the FBI, there were several other similar incidents reported in the Chicago region.

All it takes to get the party started is a nice hauler, a truck driver with some serious b**ls and a sales rep to whom you could sell an oven in the desert, if you wanted to.

Sometimes around Halloween, the Lexus of Memphis dealership received a visit from a truck driver who walked up to the desk and asked for a 2010 LX 570 SUV, worth some $76,000. Not to buy, but to lorry, supposedly, to a leasing company in New York.

We will let Stefan Smith, owner of the Memphis store, tell you, in his own words, what happened next, as he told Autonews.

"We never saw his truck. He said he was parked down the street and was loading other vehicles. There are several big used-car lots and wholesale lots right around the corner. There was nothing unusual about the method of pickup."

With that in mind, the sales rep we mentioned earlier pulled out the keys, handed over the car and, simply put, drew a $76,000 in his employer's bank account.

Try as we might, we still haven't figured out the inner workings of the Lexus dealership in Memphis. We mean, what, if one of us goes there and asks for a car, to transport somewhere, we will simply receive it, no questions asked?

Well, apparently, the scam is in fact a well thought plan. The thieves, somehow, learn about vehicles sold at auction and scramble to get to the pick-up site before the real truck arrives. Once there, they trick the personnel into handing over the cars by using stolen identification.

The method described above is the exciting one. Another one, chill-free, is getting employed, for real, by a transportation company to move vehicles from one place to another. The transporter send the thieves' truck, thieves included, to the pick-up site; the thieves pick up the cars and gone they are... Cars included.

"Business is done with a handshake," Alan Walker, security director for Manheim told Autonews. "This sort of theft hasn't happened before."
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)
About the author: Daniel Patrascu
Daniel Patrascu profile photo

Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories