Man takes off after test-driving car; vehicle owner offering reward

$1,000 reward being offered

SAN ANTONIO – It's a test drive that's lasted five days, and now a car lot wants help cutting it off.

Discount Auto Center is offering a reward for information on a man they say took a red 2010 Chrysler 300 on a one-hour test drive Thursday and never came back. The car lot owner is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the man's arrest or the car's return.

Staff say the man is about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall and has tattoos on his neck, arms and legs. One of the tattoos on his left shoulder appeared to be a jail window. He wore glasses with lions on the side.

Sales representative Ramon Gomez III said his boss is "a Christian man" and "it's not so much the car as opposed to him doing it to other people."

Gomez said the alleged thief was polite and patient during his visit. He let the car lot copy his driver's license and left his keys at the dealership before driving off in the Chrysler.

"He throws me his keys and right there he makes a joke and says 'Here, you can have my house as well,'" Ramon recalled while looking over surveillance video from the day.

Gomez almost went on the test drive with the man but changed his mind.

The salesman said he noticed a gun tucked into the man's waistband near the small of his back when the man was adjusting his shorts. 

It made Gomez uneasy enough to keep him from getting in the car himself but not enough to make him cancel the test drive completely. Instead, he let the man go on his own.

"He could pull out this gun at any time, or he could take the car. I'd rather he take the car," Gomez said, explaining his thinking at the time.

When the man didn't return, Gomez and his manager checked out the truck in which he'd arrived.  Gomez says it had gold, hand-painted stripes and vague outlines of U-Haul stickers. Inside of it, they found multiple paper license plates, he said.

"He's done this before or he was planning on doing this to somebody else," Gomez said.

Gomez said police told him the man's paper driver's license was a fake and the truck was really an overdue U-Haul rental.

KSAT-12 asked the San Antonio Police Department to confirm the details provided by Discount Auto Center, but a report was not yet available. A department spokesman confirmed they were investigating the case.

In the meantime, Discount Auto Center asks anyone with information to contact them at 210-680-5600.

About the Author: