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Stolen car...please help

Discussion in 'General Automotive Discussion' started by Matt LaMotte, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. Matt LaMotte

    Matt LaMotte Formula 3

    Oct 30, 2002
    1,866
    Pensacola
    Well I never thought I would need the help of the Fchat police but I hate to admit I have come upon a pretty bad situation. It's a long story but if you got the time I appreciate any advice as I have seen the power and knowledge this place can hold.

    The story goes that I had decided to sell my car. I had placed my 2006 Infiniti G35 coupe on Autotrader to get the payments off my back. I drive 3 miles to work and back and the money I was shelling out for it didn't seem to justify the little time I used the car. So it sat on there for a month and had a few bites but they all ended up falling through.

    I was contacted one day by a guy named "James" while I was at work who stated he was looking for a 6spd coupe and had seen mine online. I told him a few details about the car and told him I was busy at work and that I would contact him when I got home. Fast forward to that night I call the guy up and we have a chat about the car, where he lives, where he is from, what he does, and he seemed to be a genuine nice guy. He claimed to own a construction company he had inherited from his dad and had been living in the Tuscaloosa Al area for a few years. He claimed to own a Cadillac CTS and had just bought a work truck but was wanting a sports car. It was late on a Friday and I couldn't get in touch with my bank until Monday so we had to let it rest. Through the course of the weekend he contacted me with a few small questions and again we chatted about random stuff.

    Monday comes and I'm on vacation all week. I had planned to go to Florida to see my family so I contacted "James" to see if we could get it done that day. We conference called my bank and he asked my guy a few questions about the routing number and where he needed to send the money. My banker told him all the information and we ended the call. I told him I was heading out of town for the week and that I needed to get everything taken care of. He stated he was leaving on Friday and was going to be out of town as well. We came upon the agreement that once he had wired the money I would meet him and give him the difference of what I owed on the car as well as the vehicle. I told my bank this and they stated that we needed to put together a bill of sale. No problem. I contact "James" and he says no problem and that he would write up a bill of sale. Fast forward a few hours..."James" claimed that he had wired the money but when I called my bank they said it was too late for them to check to see if it was recieved. So...

    That night I drive my car to Birmingham with my girlfriend following me. The whole way there I was on the phone with the guy as we decided where to meet as he claimed to be coming from Tuscaloosa. We agreed on an exit just off the interstate. I pulled up at about the same time he did. Get out of the car and shake hands and he checks out the car. He was driving a black truck and had another guy with him that I didn't see. We hung out for a few minutes and he looked over the vehicle. He pulled out a copy of the bill of sale and I read it over. It stated that I was selling him my car for the price I was asking and he was paying it off. It had a notarized stamp on it that appeared to be legit and to be honest I never once doubted this guy. After talking for a bit I handed over my keys and the car, shook hands and that was that. As I pulled out he contacted me to let me know that I was about to go the wrong way towards home and that I needed to go down a different exit. What a nice guy huh.

    The next morning I rent a car and hit the road on vacation to Florida. Around 10AM I contact my bank to check on the wire. "No sir..we don't see it yet. Hmmmm seems strange so I contact James. He answers the phone and agrees that it's weird too. That was the first butterfly feeling I had but I didn't want to get crazy yet. He says he will check and see what the problem is as soon as he gets off work. I get in to Florida and call him up. He says that he think there is a problem with my account number. I call the bank..get my account number and call this "James" guy back. I ask him to read me the number he has and "suprisingly" the 2 he had in my account number was a 3. Right ok whatever. He claims that he will resend it in the morning and that it was his mistake

    I wake up the next dayand contact him. Again he says he is at work and I tell him that we need to get this taken care of asap. He gives me the "no problems" and the "I'm so sorrys". Around 3 he calls me up and says it has been resent correctly and that it should be there. I call the bank and sit there on hold until 5 minutes after they closed with no answer except that I could leave a message. I hang up pretty ticked at the situation

    Now before I go on I know how stupid this all was of me now that it is all said and done. I never should have trusted this guy and this is all my fault. I honestly believed him to be a good guy and that he intended on buying my car. I'm a pretty good judge of character I thought and didn't think that this guy would cross his fingers and go this far to get his hands on my car. It would have been a lot less work to go bust out a window and hot wire a car. He had the balls to meet me face to face and spend that much time bull****ing with me I never honest suspected it. Even when I met up with him I didn't see in his eyes any bad intentions or seem like a crook. I know there are probably a few people on here saying YOU DUMB A**! Trust me guys I agree...but that doesn't help me now.

    So Thursday comes and I wake up early (on my vacation) and immediatly call the bank. No suprise when my banker says he doesn't see a wire for my account. I hang up and jump on the phone and call "James". No answer....butterflies again. I called at least 40 more times over the next few hours and then I accepted it. I got hustled. Plain and simple. So I do what anyone would do in my situation does...call the police right.

    You would think that I could have reported it right away but that was not the case. I contacted the Tuscaloosa police department to start with and was told I would need to contact the Birmingham police department since that is where the "incident" occured. No problem...call up the Birmingham police and explain my situation as briefly but as detailed as I can. I tell them it's stolen and I need to get it reported. The cop on the other end proceeds to tell me that it is a civil case and I need to come to Birmingham to file a civil suit! Now I know as good as you all do that "James" isn't James and that there is no way he is going to show up for a civil suit! Come on. But that is what the cop tells me I got to do. So I have to cut my vacation in Florida short and drive 4 hours north just to file a report!

    I arrive in Birmingham as early as possible on Friday and roll into downtown. I head up to the building they said I need to go to and the ladies in the office tell me I am in the wrong office. Suprise...they state I need to go down the road to the criminal office to file my report. No kidding...so I hit the road and run down to the bulding they say I need to be in. I walk in the door and tell the lady at the desk that I need to report a stolen car. She starts off with "When was it stolen"? I tell her Monday and she hits me with "Well why did you wait this long to report it"?!! I calmly explain my situation and she then tells me I need to go to the police department closest to where the incident happened which is a few miles down the road. I bust out the door and jump in my rental car and make my way to the "correct" place.

    I walk in the lobby and there is a cop in his mid 40's sitting at the desk. I tell him I need to file a report for a stolen vehicle and ask if he could help me. He claims that all the officers are busy at this time and that it will be at least 5 hours before somebody can even sit down and get my information. I ask him if he can do it and he stutters that he has to watch the front desk. My blood begins to boil. I ask him where I can go to get this car reported asap and he tells me I should go to the other police department RIGHT NEXT TO THE BUILDING I HAD JUST LEFT!!!!

    So I hit the road in my POS rental car and track down the OTHER police department. When I walk in a young detective maybe my age ask me what I am there for and I tell him to report a stolen vehicle and he looks at me with a puzzled look and ask "When was it stolen"? I tell him the exact same thing I told clerk #1 that the incident occured Monday and again he hits me with "Why did you wait this long?" I was so mentally exhausted at this point after the week I had I looked at him and said that I would gladly explain that if he could just find me somebody who would take my statement. He rolls his eyes and lets me sit in the lobby for a good 15 minutes.

    Finally a detective comes out and invited me into the back office. I proceed to tell him the whole story and he is giving me the "You dumb a$$" look the whole time. As he is filling out his report I glance over and notice 3 boxes full of reports with hundred in each one. I ask him if those are all reports that they have recieved and he shootss back that that isss classified information and he cannot discuss that with me. I begin to realize I am about to become part of the stack. He gives me a case number and says that they will contact me sometime next week.

    Monday comes around and I call up my insurance guy and let him know the situation and he says I will have to get him a copy of the report before they can file a claim. I contact the Birmingham police and they say that my report isn't ready yet and to check back. I recieve a call from a detective that says he is with auto theft and that he had a few questions. I gave him everything I could over the phone and faxed him copies of my "bill of sale". He says he will contact me.

    It took two more days to get confirmation that I could finally get a copy of my report. They offered to mail it but I wanted to get my claim going so I drove an hour back to Birmingham to pick it up. I stopped by my insurance agent and dropped off a copy and he said that he would send it off to them and didn't seem like it was a big deal. I had full coverage on the car and my motorcycle so that was the one thing keeping me going through all this.

    I contacted my detective the other day to see if he had any info or if I could help him out anymore with anything new he had. All he told me was that he had tried to call the contact number for "James" and that the person that answered didn't know a James! Imagine that! You got to be kidding! I proceeded to tell him that my car did have GPS (not Onstar) and asked him if there was any way they could track the vehicle. His exact words were that that was a good idea and that I SHOULD TRY AND CALL THEM! Guys I wanted to jump through the phone! So I....not Mr police officer...contact Infiniti and ask them if there is any way they can track the vehicle. Nope.

    And then the bomb drops on me today. My insurance company calls me up and tells me that they want to get a recorded statement of the situation that occured and that there is a clause they added a year ago that states they do not cover anything that has to do with a sale of a vehicle. For the millionth time my stomach hits the floor and I ask the guy to be straight up and tell me if they are going to cover the car. He says that at this time he cannot tell me that but that they have had 5 similar cases in the past year and all 5 claims have been denied. So here I sit. No car and $29,000 in the whole. All I got right now is a motorcycle and though it's not as cold as it is up north the 3 mile trek to work is not so fun when it's raining.

    I don't got a clue in the world what to do. Should I get a lawyer and try to fight with the insurance company? Should I continue to try to pay on the car and see if it turns up. I can't afford another payment for a vehicle on top of the loan I already got so I've come to the conclusion that I am pretty much screwed. File bankruptcy? I got great credit and I've worked hard to get it that way so I hate to just throw in the towel and bow out but I can't keep paying on the car for long if I have to save for another one. The insurance guy is going to call me in a week and give me the verdict but we can all see which way this is going. Some guy is out there rolling around in my ride and I can guarantee the only way it's going to pop up is if the police find it. I even ran the VIN tonight on a website and it didn't even come back as stolen so how hard they are doing there job is up in the air.


    If you took the time to read this whole thing whether you can help me or not I appreciate it. I know when it comes down to it that it was my fault for trusting this guy but I can't change all that now. If any of you guys have any advice on which way I should take this thing I would be extremely gratefull. I am not getting any good answers from anyone and figured being on here for around 5 or 6 years and meeting and chatting with everyone here that there are some awesome and extremely intelligent people around that might have a clue where to start. Thanks for your time....Matt
     
  2. UroTrash

    UroTrash Three Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Consultant

    Jan 20, 2004
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    My heart goes out to you. Some lessons we learn the very, very hard way. :(
     
  3. Skyler

    Skyler Formula 3

    May 31, 2004
    1,856
    Canada
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    Skyler
    Hi Matt,

    I cannot offer you any advice, but I did want to wish you good luck.

    From your recount of the story, I can't help but think "James" geniunely made a mistake in the account number the first time around. Perhaps after he saw that he had the car in his possession... he figured he could get away without paying.
    I hope it works out for you soon, as you seem to be in a tough spot.

    If you're thinking of claiming bankruptcy, you may want to re-think lawyering-up to fight an insurance company.
    That could take a lot of time and money with relatively no gaurantee of a pay-off.

    On a side note, Since you have his cell phone number, the police should be able to track his where-abouts (provided he is still using it).
    Try to PM 285ferrari (Robbie) as I believe he is in Law Enforcement. He may be able to give you more advice.

    Good luck, keep us posted.
     
  4. UroTrash

    UroTrash Three Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Consultant

    Jan 20, 2004
    33,290
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    Internet Poseur
    With 29k on the line, I bet you could hire someone to find this low life.
     
  5. Matt LaMotte

    Matt LaMotte Formula 3

    Oct 30, 2002
    1,866
    Pensacola
    I would love to track him down but when it boils down to it all I have is a alias and a phone number that I know is through Sprint. I'd gladly give it out to anyone who thinks they might be able to get a name. I would think the cops would have already done this but as you can see I'm not making any ground. I'm sure it's probably a prepaid phone or borrowed phone and this guy has probably pulled off a similar stunt 10 times since me. I also get the feeling I would be wasting my time fighting with the insurance company. Thanks for the well wishes guys....maybe the car will turn up.
     
  6. Veedub00

    Veedub00 F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Jun 30, 2006
    3,610
    Troy, Michigan
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    James
    post the car's details to us too. maybe he will want to sell it on craigslist in another area. Pics would be helpful and any unique features it has. I see scams on CL all of the time.
     
  7. Matt LaMotte

    Matt LaMotte Formula 3

    Oct 30, 2002
    1,866
    Pensacola
    #7 Matt LaMotte, Nov 24, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
    Vin# JNKCV54E66M721215
    2006 G35 COUPE. Black on black 6spd. Navigation, spoiler.

    Small knick below the handle on the driver side door. Scuff on the front right rim lip.

    I will post pics as soon as I can get them resized
     
  8. BAKY

    BAKY Formula 3

    May 23, 2007
    1,274
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    Bobby
    #8 BAKY, Nov 24, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
    Its theft by deception.....You might try to call a cell phone company and find out the carrier...then try to quickly befriend someone there and get his info....might take a few tries but I bet that would work...once you have his location......surprise him with the local police. May the force be with you!
     
  9. Matt LaMotte

    Matt LaMotte Formula 3

    Oct 30, 2002
    1,866
    Pensacola
    It's through Nextel and what's funny is I used to work for them. I don't have any contacts but I would hope the police would have this capability.
     
  10. BAKY

    BAKY Formula 3

    May 23, 2007
    1,274
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    Bobby
    I wouldnt wait on them...I would find someone who would look at his account and give you a name and billing address....then go and "look only" for your car..and if you find it call the police and take them there with you. Who has the title to the car?
     
  11. Isobel

    Isobel F1 Veteran
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    Jun 30, 2007
    9,251
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    Is, Izzy for Australians
    Check the 'clause' involved in the terms of your insurance agreement, I wouldn't listen to your agent or representatives of the company, obviously it's in their best interest to refuse payout. Bottom line, stolen is stolen. If your insurance continues to refuse your claim, get legal assistance.
     
  12. BAKY

    BAKY Formula 3

    May 23, 2007
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    Not really, what happened is theft by deception...could be a civil matter if a title exchanged hands.
     
  13. Matt LaMotte

    Matt LaMotte Formula 3

    Oct 30, 2002
    1,866
    Pensacola
    My bank still has the title. I will call the detective in the morning and see if they can track it. I don't see how he can sell the car without the title but he could always make up another fake document. I agree...I figured a stolen car was a stolen car and that I would have no problem with it. I really don't have the money to go to trial against them unless I thought I had a chance but I'm sure they have been through this before and have themselves covered...right?
     
  14. BAKY

    BAKY Formula 3

    May 23, 2007
    1,274
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    Bobby
    #14 BAKY, Nov 24, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
    Another problem....I think Alabama is a Bill of Sale state....no title needed.......I am not 100% sure on this but maybe....I would also call your bank and speak with someone..you might also shorten your story...too many details make things worse...#1 - I would try to get info from his cell number, #2 Call your bank and make sure you speak to someone who is qualified to help...not just anyone. They can prob help with the police. #3 - Call the police DAILY...persistence beats resistance! #4 - Call an attorney and do all this 1st thing in the morning!
     
  15. Lloyd

    Lloyd F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 25, 2001
    2,703
    Austin
    #15 Lloyd, Nov 24, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
    You need to contact a lawyer asap. You need an attorney experienced in insurance claims to deal with the insurance issues. Do not deal with your insurance carrier any more until you have talked to an attorney. You need to see the exact language in the insurance policy, as your statement that they don't cover "anything that has to do with a sale of a vehicle" sounds like BS. Remember, you did not sell the car. A car is not sold until you transfer the title. There is nothing in the thread that says anything about the title, but you do indicate you are paying on the car so I assume the bank holds the title. I remember having someone I knew going through the situation where someone took the car on a test drive and they had to wait a certain period of time before the cops and insurance carrier considered it theft as opposed to permissive use. One caveat is that I know nothing about how this works out if indeed Alabama is a bill of sale state, but in no event should you be able to give a bill of sale and defeat the lien and interest of the bank in the vehicle. Therefore, the bank should still have an interest in the vehicle which surpasses that of this clown who took the car. Get a lawyer.
     
  16. Isobel

    Isobel F1 Veteran
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    Jun 30, 2007
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    I stand by my original comments. I also agree with Skyler. You should think of sending a PM to Robbie, he might have a few ideas that would be helpful.
     
  17. Matt LaMotte

    Matt LaMotte Formula 3

    Oct 30, 2002
    1,866
    Pensacola
    I spoke with my banker earlier today and he said he would take it to his vice president to see what he could do. He says that this is the 1st time he has dealt with anything like this but he knows all the details already as he was on the phone with the guy several times through the whole process and knows the lay by play. He agrees that the guy was pretty slick and didn't see it coming. I will call the detective again tomorrow but I'm not getting much out of him. I'm sure he is dealing with 50 other cases and comes off as not giving a crap and that this basically is all my fault. I don't have the hookup like I used to at Nextel but if any of you guys want a crack at the cell phone number I'd be glad to PM it to you.
     
  18. Matt LaMotte

    Matt LaMotte Formula 3

    Oct 30, 2002
    1,866
    Pensacola
    PM sent to Robbie. Anybody know a good (cheap lol) lawyer around here? Thanks again guys
     
  19. BAKY

    BAKY Formula 3

    May 23, 2007
    1,274
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    Bobby
    CALL A LAWYER FIRST THING IN THE MORNING!

    DONT BE THIS GUY - http://ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=191248&highlight=stolen

    YOU WILL GET NO RESPECT!
     
  20. Matt LaMotte

    Matt LaMotte Formula 3

    Oct 30, 2002
    1,866
    Pensacola
    Gotcha. I hate to say it but this looks like it could be a long thread.
     
  21. BAKY

    BAKY Formula 3

    May 23, 2007
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    Bobby
    Hopefully Not! Just read a few pages of that other thread and you will understand my point...
     
  22. 95Aero

    95Aero Karting

    Dec 14, 2007
    194
    Stamford
    Full Name:
    Stephen
    I would contact the DMV down there and see if the title actually transfered over to his name... If it didnt then I would assume that any claim you file against your car being stolen with your insurance company would have to be considered just that by them. Despite what they say they determine their willingness to pay based on the police report not your story. If the report comes out and its anything but fact I would raise hell with the cops although they could give you the its too late thing which they once gave me and say just fill out an afidavid.

    Worst case I would look into any state funds which might exist for stolen cars or title transactions gone bust!


    Best of luck,

    Stephen
     
  23. dm_n_stuff

    dm_n_stuff Global Moderator
    Global Moderator Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Dec 10, 2003
    34,894
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    Dave
    Lawyer. NOW!

    It's a criminal matter, get a good criminal laywer. Take on the insurance company. Did your agent explain this change in policy? If not, they'll pay, even if they did, they'll still pay. They won't like it, but they'll pay.

    Get your lawyer to crawl up the insurance company's ass, right now. Car theft is car theft. They can try to call it anything they want but you have the title (well the bank does) and you don't have the car. Make sure the ins. co. understands that when it's over, they'll also owe you for the lawyer fees, court costs, etc.

    Also, don't pay the bank for the car. So what if they default you on it? Then they have to try and repossess the car. Let their guys help find it too. I betcha they have insurance for this situation on the loan you have if THEY cant' find it. Keep copies of everything. There's been NO SALE on the car, it was STOLEN.

    Go to the state police and talk to them. Is there a chance the car has crossed state lines? Could the guy have driven very far in it?

    Final lesson for all. LOJAK!!

    Dave
     
  24. Andy348

    Andy348 Formula 3
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    Nov 4, 2007
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    Andy
    Where are you located??

    I don't mind checking your local Craiglsist or anything around there, I've got nothing better to do other than... uhh school work :p

    I hope you get the car back.
     
  25. JAM1

    JAM1 F1 Rookie
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    Oct 22, 2004
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    Joe
    I would expect the car is in a container at a port somewhere waiting to be exported... not likely to show up on the market IMO. As others have said, get a lawyer first. Also post on other forums so the word is out on your car. The more people that know about it, the better your chance of getting in touch with someone who can help you out (ie phone company employee or local attorney).
     

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