Investigators on Monday said they are searching for a woman who allegedly stole a person's identity and used it to buy a car from a Lodi dealership.
The fraud occurred at the Approved Auto Center of Lodi and dealership owner Brandon Gonsalves said the woman suspect looked like a legitimate customer on paper, according to KTLA sister station KTXL in Sacramento.
"She had perfect credit, driver's license," Gonsalves told the station. "I mean, you name it, it was all there."
Gonsalves said the suspect was shopping for a luxury sedan when she made her decision.
"It's a Lexus IS 250, it's a beautiful car," he said. "It was in immaculate condition."
A 2019 Lexus IS can retail between $38,560 and $44,345, according to U.S. News and World Report.
The woman and the dealership negotiated a price that was fair to both parties, according to Gonsalves.
"What we wanted to do here was treat people like real people," he said. "So you come in, you actually get treated like a real person. We try to help you to get a car."
The next day, the dealership learned they had been duped, according to Gonsalves.
"The next day we had the real person give us a call and say, 'Hey, my ID was stolen,'" said Gonsalves.
Gonsalves said the woman's identity was a sham; she fooled not only his dealership, but the DMV and the bank where she got the car loan from as well.
"We catch it like 99.999% of the time," Gonsalves said. "This lady was dialed with real documents. I mean, documents that you couldn't tell."
"Typical paperwork from the DMV," said dealership office manager Tera Arroyos." It had the DMV logo on the back of it. It was a blue and white paper. So everything looked legit. Low and behold, it wasn't."
The dealership is now working with the Lodi Police Department to track the suspected imposter down.
"It's devastating for a small, independent dealership to lose a car," Arroyos said. "It's devastating to the company. It's devastating to the people around us."
"I haven't been sleeping very well, obviously, but hopefully we'll get the car back shortly," Gonsalves said.