A woman was arrested in Costa Mesa after she allegedly stole cars from two Costa Mesa dealerships on Sunday under the guise of test driving them, police said.
Placentia resident Iliana E. Villasenor, 38, was initially able to make off with the cars until police caught up with her that evening and arrested her following a brief pursuit, according to a statement from Costa Mesa police.
The alleged crime series began around 10:50 a.m., when Villasenor went to a car dealership on the 1900 block of Harbor Boulevard and test drove a used Honda Accord, police said.
Instead of returning the vehicle, she faked a medical emergency to distract the sales associate and drove away, officers said.
Later the same evening, Villasenor went to a dealership on the 2500 block of Harbor Boulevard and took a new Fiat 500E out for a test drive, according to police.
“Villasenor had initially requested to test drive the car from a salesman, and later drove off in the stolen car,” officers stated in the press release.
About an hour after taking the Fiat, officials spotted her the stolen car near West 19th Street and Placentia Avenue.
A brief pursuit ensued, but Villasenor was eventually taken into custody near Placentia and Superior avenues on suspicion of evading police and grand theft auto, authorities said.
Both vehicles have since been recovered by authorities.
Villasenor was being held in the Orange County jail system on $100,000 bail, police said.