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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: cars

Police: Fraud suspect bilked 17+ people

Police say a recently arrested fraud suspected swindled people out of money through false car advertisements and Craigslist rental ads.

Eric Pittsley, 35, of Newman Lake, was arrested Feb. 1 in an investigation that detectives say includes at least 17 victims, officials said today.

Some victims said Pittsley introduced himself as an auto repo man who could get various cars at 'unbelievably” low prices, according to a news release by Deputy Craig Chamberlin, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The victims would paid Pittsley a deposit of about $500 and arranged to have a vehicle delivered, but it would never arrive, Chamberlin wrote.

Other victims responded to a Craigslist ad Pittlsey posted regarding home for rent through a Rent-to-Own program, or Pittsley contacted them through ads they posted seeking rental properties, according to the sheriff's office.

Pittsley did not own the home he advertised but would meet with potential renters, tell this them the homes were about to be vacated and collected the first month's rent and security deposit. He sometimes asked for additional months upfront and said they could get one month free if they paid, Chamberlin said. Many victims received a signed lease and key, but the keys turned out not to work for the properties in question.

“The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with the Spokane Valley Police Department would like to use these unfortunate events to remind everyone that they need to be aware of scams and to be cautious of people who place free ads on the internet,” Chamberlin wrote.  “While the internet is a great tool for the community to find excellent opportunities and for businesses to reach out, when it comes to your money changing hands, the proper paperwork should accompany the transaction or agreements entered into.  When paying in cash always ask for receipts.  If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Check around if you’re unsure.  Ask for references or ask others who have experience in the type of dealings you’re pursuing.”

‘67 Ford Mustang stolen in Coeur d’Alene

Missing: One 1967 Ford Mustang.

The classic car was stolen from a Coeur d'Alene auto shop this month, and police are asking for help finding those responsible.

Will Sando, owner of Silverlake Automotive, discovered the trailer containing the car was missing Dec. 12 at 7:30 a.m. It was last seen Dec. 11 at 3 p.m., police said today.

An outdoor shed also was burgled and a set of tires and rims were missing. The business is located at 274 W Hanley Ave.

Anyone with information is asked to call Coeur d'Alene police at (208) 769-2320.

Valley woman, 84, scammed of $1,500

An elderly Spokane Valley woman lost nearly $1,500 this year to a con man who claimed she'd won a new car.

The Spokane Valley Police Department is reminding people to talk with their elderly parents about phone, mail and email scams after the 84-year-old woman's daughter reported the fraud to Crime Check and said the thief calls her mother daily seeking more money.

The victim sent $1,475 to an address in Jamaica in March after a caller claiming to represent Morgan Stanley International told her she had won a new car and only had to pay them sales tax to collect it, Sgt. Dave Reagan said.

Reagan said such swindles “are nearly impossible to investigates and prosecute” because the culprits typically live outside the country.

He said people with elderly relatives “should insist that elders discuss with them any contest, lottery or other prize offers before sending any money for “taxes,”  “border fees” or other claims of money owed.”

Car stolen from NJ in ‘75 found in Calif.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A classic muscle car stolen from New Jersey's largest city nearly 36 years ago has been recovered on the other side of the country.

A Santa Maria, Calif., man bought the 1969 Chevy Camaro SS from a seller on eBay in February. But Keith Williams tells KSBY-TV he contacted the California Highway Patrol after certain features of the car didn't match the model.

Police discovered the vehicle was stolen from Newark, N.J., on July 8, 1975.

The original owner, Janice Maffucci, told the TV station the car was stolen from the post office where her father worked. She can't believe the vehicle was recovered.

Maffucci says she plans to sell the car.

Police are tracing the registration in hopes of finding the thief.

Ex-car dealer accused of identity theft

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of an ex-car salesman accused of ripping off his former place of employment.

Jeremy M. Frechette, 37, was to buy a 1999 Dodge Durango from TCS Auto Wholesale, 2915 E. Sprague Ave., for $2,985, but employees say he only made two $300 payments.

Police believe Frechette, who worked as a sales manager, forged a dealership employee's signature and sold the Durango to a woman for $1,000 last March.

Prosecutors filed charges of second-degree identity theft and making false statement on certificate of ownership on Feb. 2.

A $20,000 warrant was issued for Frechette's arrest after he didn't show up for an arraignment on Feb. 16.

Frechette, 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, last gave ha home address in the 7900 block of East Valleyway Avenue in Spokane Valley.

Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

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