An unusual theft took place in England where a conman took a man’s car for a test drive and later sent a text demanding £500 (over Rs 50,000) to reveal its location. The car owner, who had put up the vehicle for sale, said he did not care to ask for the suspect’s driver licence before allowing him in his car. The conman took advantage of it and stole the vehicle from outside his home in West Midlands.
"I feel quite shocked and shaken. We were taken advantage of,” Jake Bateson, 27, told Birmingham Live. He said he should have asked for his driver’s licence first.
Bateson said he wanted to sell his vehicle and had advertised about it on an online platform. On April 12, a man posing as a fake buyer contacted him and took the vehicle for a test drive with Bateson in the back passenger seat. After the test drive, the suspect feigned exiting the vehicle but suddenly “floored the car with the door open”, Bateson said.
Later, the thief sent text messages to the owner demanding £500 to reveal its location. Bateson warned him to either return the car or face the police. According to a description of the suspect to prosecuting agencies, he was an overweight Asian, aged between 25 and 35, and walked with a limp.
Weeks earlier, Bateson’s friend's car had been stolen in the same way. Both men have reported the thefts to police and officers say they believe the two cases are linked to the same offender.
His friend told the news outlet he felt shocked about the thefts. “Stealing a car in the middle of a pandemic - you just lose a bit of trust in people," the 32-year-old said.
Bateson said his car was found days later "completely battered, unusable and on false plates". He also revealed that his two other cars were also stolen in separate incidents in December 2016 and January 2017.