$37K custom car stolen from specialty shop - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

$37K custom car stolen from specialty shop

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Surveillance still of the suspect Surveillance still of the suspect
The restored 1972 Mini Cooper that was allegedly stolen The restored 1972 Mini Cooper that was allegedly stolen

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Police are investigating after a South Florida business owner said a man posing as a customer stole a custom car after claiming he wanted to take the vehicle for a test drive.

According to Keenan Warner, a salesman at Wheels Boutique in Southwest Miami-Dade, the suspect had contacted them expressing his interest in purchasing a restored 1972 black Mini Cooper with shiny rims after he saw photographs of the car on the Internet. On Thursday night, he came to the showroom to look at the vehicle up close.

"He insisted he needed to test drive the car, which I understood," said Warner. "So I asked my boss if that was OK."

Warner's superior approved the test drive because the suspect had written a $29,500 check as a down payment on the Mini. Surveillance video captured the man getting in the car in the garage. "This guy we had been talking to for about two and a half weeks so, I mean, this was planned to a tee," said Warner. "He came in that night wanting to take the car."

What the owner and staff of Wheels Boutique had not imagined was that the subject would drive off with the vehicle and vanish without a trace. As Warner turned to close the garage door to the shop so he could go along for the test drive, the would-be customer hit the gas and began to drive off.

"I yelled at him, 'Yo, stop! What are you doing? You can't leave. You've got to wait for me,'" said Warner. "And he started to creep down the street and was gone."

The check the suspect wrote bounced. The total cost of the Mini is $37,000.

"The car's gone, the car's stolen," said Warner, who hopes someone recognizes the man captured clearly on the security footage. "The car has been jacked. We've been played; it's all done."

Police are investigating.

If you have any information on this suspect's whereabouts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.

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