Thief Allegedly Stole Vehicles from Auto Dealerships Disguised as an Employee


A man was captured Tuesday, August 20 at a Torrance, California auto dealership after allegedly stealing several vehicles. The suspected thief had reportedly made off with several cars that had been dropped off for service at several dealerships. His crime was realized when employees recognized him as a former car washer disguising himself as a current employee.

Jose Alfredo Flores, 23, of Wilmington, CA was pursued and later held in an office on Tuesday after he was spotted at DCH Toyota & Scion, most likely to steal another car. He is believed to have taken a 2010 Toyota Tacoma, a Toyota FJ Cruiser, and a Toyota Prius over the course of a week. Flores confessed to stealing the Prius, but denied being responsible for the other thefts. However, he also had keys to a Mercedes-Benz and a Dodge on his person when he was captured.

The dealership’s ordeal began on Tuesday, August 13 when a customer, Kimmie Levine, came to pick up her Tacoma after an oil change. The garage was unable to find the vehicle. Levine alleges that she was told not to call the police, but the general manager disagreed, saying he had merely told her they would look into the incident. Two days later, a man in a detailer’s uniform came in with false paperwork and walked up to the roof of a parking structure, where the vehicles are kept. A FJ Cruiser was later reported missing.

Flores was noticed on August 20 when he was spotted walking through the dealership’s service area, wearing a uniform. Workers chased him to the roof of the parking structure, but Flores used his latest target, a Prius, as a getaway vehicle. The employees then spent the rest of the day trying to identify the suspect, who had worked for a company that had been contracted to wash and detail vehicles last year. The company had been replaced in January, but assisted in verifying Flores’ identity. The dealership found his name, address and Social Security number, as well as a Facebook picture, which matched the description of the thief and was posted around the dealership.

Around 4 p.m., Flores returned to the dealership and was quickly spotted. Employees captured him and held him in an office until police arrived. Once in police custody, Flores, who has a previous conviction from 2011 for driving without a valid license, escorted Torrance detectives to the Prius and the FJ Cruiser. Kimmie Levine’s Tacoma has still not been recovered, but the dealership has promised to help her in the light of the incident.

If you are shopping for a new car, it is worth looking at new versus used cars. Car dealerships selling used cars can get you a great deal on a car that is still in good shape. This is especially true if you have ways of getting car repairs done cheaply.

Dodge dealers can sell you a car for cheap, then you can get it repaired for cheap. However, if you don’t have this access, then you might want to look at car dealership’s new cars. You’re more likely to have protection against car problems and you can still find car dealerships with deals so it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might fear. It is worth looking into both, especially if you don’t really care whether your car is new or used.

You might care more about the particular kind of car or the amenities that the dealership offers. Car dealerships open late might be more appealing to you regardless of what kinds of cars they are selling. It all depends on your own needs.

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