Police warn public of vehicle theft scam in Vancouver

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Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 10:06 AM PDT
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VANCOUVER, Wash. (KPTV) - The Vancouver Police Department is warning the public about a vehicle theft scam that has been happening recently.

The police department has taken four vehicle theft reports with similar circumstances between August 1-19.

According to police, the suspect will use a female profile to contact people who are generally selling higher end, newer vehicles on the Facebook marketplace. The suspect then arranges to meet the seller in a public parking lot, but before the meeting, will advise that they are sending their husband to look at the vehicle. When the suspect meets with the seller, they will request to test drive the vehicle. Once the suspect gets the keys and before the seller can get in the car, police said the suspect will jump in and drive off.

Police said the suspect has been described as a Black man, early to mid-20s, 5 feet 8 inches tall, thin build, with short dreadlocks or shoulder length hair.

The Property Crimes Unit is leading the investigation into these thefts. Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect or believe you were a victim of a similar crime should contact the Vancouver police tip line at 360-487-7399.

The Vancouver Police Department has some safety tips for people selling a vehicle via an online post:

  • Meet in a well populated location, that preferably has video surveillance, such as a Vancouver Police Safe Exchange Zone.
  • Don’t go alone. Bring another adult with you.
  • Never hand over the keys or allow a solo test drive.
  • If something feels suspicious, such as a last-minute change to the meeting location or person, don’t continue with the meeting.
  • If during the meeting you feel uncomfortable, end the sale and leave.