Bogus stolen pick-up report lands Oklahoma dad in handcuffs

In Your Corner
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OKLAHOMA CITY - Damein Nelson says he was put in a scary situation, one that landed him in the back of police patrol car.

“I was confused at first, but then again I was scared because I had my 1 year-old son in the car,” he said.

Damein's father, James, immediately thought the worst.

“They pulled him at gun point,” he said. “That's the first thing I heard.”

He was cuffed and stuffed in front of his little boy, even though he didn't do anything wrong!

Officers though couldn't know that at the time.

“They believed they were pulling over a car that had been stolen,” said Oklahoma City Police Master Sergeant Gary Knight.

When they ran the VIN number it came back stolen out of Arlington, Texas.

The only reason officers didn't haul Damein off to jail was because he was able to prove he owned the pick-up.

“He did everything right in this case. He was pulled over by police,” Master Sgt. Knight said. “He complied with what the police told him to do because they believed they were pulling over a car with felons inside of it.”

Here's where things don't add up.

Damien had already been in possession of the pick-up for about a month when it was reported stolen out of Texas.

He purchased it from this used dealership in Oklahoma City last November.

“They kept saying the car wasn't stolen,” James said. “They had to investigate it and see what was going on.”

Crossroads Auto Mall General Manager Chad Pennington tells the In Your Corner team there's no way they sold Damein a hot set of wheels from Texas since the pick-up had been in their possession in Oklahoma for the last four years.

“The timeline there's no way it could have even went to Texas, cycled back through that way and been stolen,” Pennington said.

We spent weeks on the phone with authorities in Oklahoma and Texas.

The Arlington dealership that reported the pick-up stolen was no help, because they're out of business now.

Oklahoma City detectives though were able to make a break in the case and confirm the stolen car report was bogus all along.

“Apparently [there was] a miscommunication in Texas somewhere. The vehicle ended up being reported stolen, however it had been up here in the hands of the dealership for quite a long time at that point,” Master Sgt. Knight said. “It was an either an error made or miscommunication of some kind in Texas, which led to this traffic stop in December.

Damein hadn't transferred the title to his name yet, so police released the pick-up to Chad and Crossroads since technically they still owned it, and then Crossroads worked out a new agreement with Damein.  

“[We] took everything that he had paid on the truck, let him come out and pick up another car and we applied everything to the other vehicle,” Chad said.

Damein is no longer having to bum rides to get to and from work.

He’s leaving what happened in the past and instead focusing on what's in front of him right now.

There is still no word from the now defunct Arlington dealership. 


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