Calif. Shop Owner Warns of Auto Parts Scam
July 12, 2018—A rather sophisticated scam led to the theft of an expensive, high-end auto part recently at Auto World Collision Center in Valencia, Calif. And, as it turns out, the suspected thief was caught on surveillance video.
In video retrieved by an ABC TV affiliate in the area, a suspect walked up to a red BMW and made off with a roughly $8,000 headlamp for the high-end vehicle. The incident happened around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, outside of Auto World. The suspect, who doesn’t work for the shop, had placed an order with a parts dealership posing as an employee of Auto World Collision.
“Maybe it’s a new scam that they’re doing, but they used our name, our phone number, our account to try to get the light here,” shop owner Maurice Starrantino told ABC 7. “He walked up to the truck and took the delivery on a part that was supposedly for our store. It was not. It was a very expensive headlight. … The parts guy pulled in all the way, he backed his car up―a red BMW M3, and then took off with it.”
After the suspect drove away, the delivery person felt something unusual may have taken place, so he immediately went into the business and asked if someone had actually ordered the expensive part.
“He asked me right away ‘Hey, is that your employee?’ And I said no,” Starrantino said. “He said ‘Didn’t you guys order some parts?’ And I said ‘Not today.’”
Not long after, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department was called and opened an investigation.