California woman used stolen identity to buy luxury car, police say

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LODI, Calif. (KTXL) -- Investigators are searching for a suspect who allegedly stole another woman's identity and used it to buy a car from a Lodi dealership.

The fraud happened at the Approved Auto Center of Lodi, and dealership owner Brandon Gonsalves said the suspect looked like a legitimate customer on paper.

"She had perfect credit, driver's license," said Gonsalves. "I mean, you name it, it was all there."

Gonsalves said the suspect was shopping for a luxury sedan when she made her decision.

"It's a Lexus IS 250, it's a beautiful car," said Gonsalves. "It was in immaculate condition."

The suspect and the dealership negotiated a price that was fair to both parties, said Gonsalves.

"What we wanted to do here was treat people like real people," said Gonsalves. "So you come in, you actually get treated like a real person. We try to help you to get a car."

The next day, the dealership learned they had been duped, according to Gonsalves.

"The next day we had the real person give us a call and say, 'Hey, my ID was stolen,'" said Gonsalves.

Gonsalves said the woman's identity was a sham and she did not only fool his dealership, but also the DMV and the bank where she got the car loan from.

"We catch it like 99.999% of the time," said Gonsalves. "This lady was dialed with real documents. I mean, documents that you couldn't tell."

"Typical paperwork from the DMV," said dealership office manager Tera Arroyos." It had the DMV logo on the back of it. It was a blue and white paper. So everything looked legit. Lo and behold, it wasn't."

The dealership is now working with the Lodi Police Department to track the suspected imposter down and put the woman behind bars.

"It's devastating for a small, independent dealership to lose a car," said Arroyos. "It's devastating to the company. It's devastating to the people around us."

"I haven't been sleeping very well, obviously, but hopefully we'll get the car back shortly," said Gonsalves.

For anyone who recognizes the suspect or has any information about this crime, please contact the Lodi Police Department.

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