Thief tricks dealership into giving him another person's SUV

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Employees at River Oaks Jeep handed over the car keys to a man and he left in a 2014 Jeep Cherokee SRT. But the man shown in surveillance video was not the owner of the Jeep. Employees say, the man posed as a customer at the dealership.

The video shows the man closely watching over the Jeep. The man goes from the garage to the cashier, where another man is seen waiting with him.

Car dealership owner Alan Helfman said, "He even went to the mechanic that was working on it in the trim department and said how much longer is it gonna be for me to get my car. The mechanic said about an hour, I have work here to do."

At one point, the man waits until nobody is around. Then, the man checks to see if the keys are in the car. They were not.

A service employee says he saw the man in the car and went to ask him about it. But, the employee pulled back because he thought the man was a customer checking out a car.

When asked how the man managed to not pay, or go through the process of checks and balances Helfman said, "Well, he was in the cashier's office, telling another guy to go get my credit card. So, the girls behind the counter were thinking this was a normal scenario."

The real owner of the Jeep was on his way to pick up the car and showed up 15 minutes after the man left with his car.

Helfman explained how he broke the news to the actual owner.

"One of the sales managers called them," Helfman said.

"How did it go over?" we asked.

"Not very well, not very well," he said.

The dealership says they will now doublecheck paperwork before handing over any keys to a customer.

There is a tracking device on the Jeep. Police are trying to track that vehicle down right now.
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