Man Steals SUV During Test Drive

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Independence Police are looking for a man who took an SUV on a test drive and never came back. The dealer has a surveillance video of the man and even a copy of his driver's license.

Car salesman Todd Rechterman says there has only been other time where a customer asked to test drive a car and didn't return it. On Monday, a man went to Cars Plus Credit wanting to test drive a 2003 Liberty. Mike lee had a valid driver's license but it was from Miami. That made Rechterman a little leery.

"He had on a suit and tie," Rechterman said. "He had identification. He had insurance. I got suckered."

After Lee left on his test drive, Rechterman knew he was in trouble when a passenger in the car Lee arrived in moved behind the wheel and sped out of the lot.

"You try to do business the right way," he said. "You do it with trust in customers and there is no trust anymore. You can't even let somebody test drive an automobile."

Surveillance video shows Rectherman running to block the entrance of his lot as the driver gets away. Lot manager, Julio Palomino pursues the car in a white Camaro. He says the chase became too dangerous and he had to stop.

"He'd go faster and I do too," Palomnio said. "He'd run through parking lot, crazy. I stopped when there's a lot of dangerous traffic there and he runs away."

Rechterman hopes a viewer can help police find the Jeep and the man who stole it.

Rechterman says he considered having one of his employees go along on the test drive but feared they would get hurt. He's happy he didn't do that even though he lost the Jeep.  If you know Mike Lee call the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS or Independence Police.

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