Couple furious after dealership ‘gave away’ the car they left for servicing

Posted at 6:28 PM, Apr 23, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A couple is furious at a Sacramento County car dealership after they say their vehicle was stolen right off the lot.

"We dropped off our vehicle for service for the A/C because it's starting to get warm in Sacramento," Steve Russell said.

Last Friday, Steve and his wife Trish left their 2017 Ford Fusion at the Future Ford dealership on Madison Avenue near Interstate 80 and saw something that made them feel uneasy.

"The employee left the vehicle unlocked. He had the keys with him," Steve said. "About two hours later, we were called and someone said that our vehicle had been stolen from the lot."

The California Highway Patrol says a woman had come into the dealership with her boyfriend, leaned into the Russells' Fusion without telling him and grabbed the identification tag. Investigators say the woman used the tag to claim to be the owner of the vehicle.

An employee handed the woman the keys, the CHP said, without asking for identification.

"When the police contacted her to ask, 'Why did you steal the car?' She actually said, 'I didn’t steal it, it was given to me,'" Trish Russell said. "Which is actually true. The keys were handed to this woman."

The CHP says the car was later recovered. The woman was not arrested, officers said, but has been charged with grand theft auto.

Meanwhile, the Russells say their Fusion had significant damage to its front left tire and the inside was trashed.

The Russells feel the dealership should have done more to prevent this.

"It took them an hour and a half to contact me. Like everybody else, our garage remote and our address was in the vehicle. So my fear was they took my car and now they’re robbing us as well," Trish said.

The dealership's general manager told KTXL that because their insurance is involved, he has been advised not to comment. The Russells said the dealership told them they will cover the costs of the damage done to the car while it was stolen.

Still, the Russells feel the dealership should beef up its security.

"Came the next day to trade in our loaner and would see again and again service techs bring vehicles up and walk away from them," Trish said. "Even when questioned, 'Why would you do that when somebody had just stolen a car from there?' they just shrugged and kept on walking."

The CHP says the boyfriend of the suspected thief had no idea she was stealing a car.

Officers say he was actually here to legitimately buy a car and he did stick around for the officers to arrive.