A 24-year-old woman arrested a couple of weeks ago after she kept a 24-hour test drive car from CarMax for two weeks tried the very same con on another car dealership shortly after being released on bond.
"The bottom line is that she is a car kleptomaniac and a con-woman, and a really bad one too."
— RICK STALY, Flagler County sheriff
This time, the car was a 2016 Toyota Corolla the woman took from Palm Coast Ford this past Friday, April 8. She was supposed to bring it back by 5 p.m. after picking up a co-signer, and gave the dealership her cell number. She didn't return it, and didn't answer the phone.
“She gave my deputies several excuses as to why she had a car that did not belong to her. The bottom line is that she is a car kleptomaniac and a con-woman, and a really bad one too,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “She was already out on bond for the car she stole in Daytona Beach, which she claimed was a paperwork error. So now she went from the Best Western to the Green Roof Inn for her latest failed attempt to obtain a car for free.”
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office's Real Time Crime Center used its technology to look for a reported stolen car and observed it turning in to the Winn Dixie on SR 100 near I-95.
Staly tracked it down himself, patrolling the Flagler Plaza Drive area near Interstate 95.
“There is a homeless camp in the woods, and nearby hotels that a thief can use in that area,” Staly said. “Our RTCC did a great job being proactive and, fortunately, my speculation was correct, and we were able to track down a thief and recover the stolen car quickly for the dealership.”
The Corolla was empty and backed into a parking space at the Best Western hotel. After Staly identified the car as the stolen vehicle, he alerted the FCSO Dispatch Center and deputies joined him.
Deputies learned that the 24-year-old Palm Coast woman had been renting a room at the hotel on a week-to-week basis. She was found in her room and was taken into custody.
The woman faces a felony charge of Grand Theft – Motor Vehicle.
Last month, she'd entered into an agreement with the CarMax dealership in Daytona Beach on March 14, taking a Hyundai Elantra for a 24-hour test drive.
After she failed to return the car by the agreed upon time on March 15, FCSO deputies found the car on March 30 at one of her family members' residence on Coconut Court in Palm Coast.
The woman is scheduled to appear in court in Volusia County on May 2 for the March 2022 theft.