In a scene straight out of a Hollywood flick, a man went to a luxury car showroom to ostensibly buy a car, but drove away the Rs 12-lakh test-drive vehicle after dodging the sales representative sent with him.
Castle Toyota showroom general manager, sales, Inder Pal Singh said, "On Thursday, at around 2 pm, a smartly-dressed man probably 20-22 years of age visited our showroom. He told us that he wanted to buy a Toyota Corolla Altis car, which retails at Rs 15.5 lakh."
Singh added that man identified himself as Harmeet Singh and possessed excellent communication skills. He stayed in the showroom for more than half-an-hour, discussing the features of the car with our salesman.
'Harmeet' then asked for a test-drive and Singh deputed salesman Kanwalpreet Singh to accompany the fraudster.
"Then the suspect drove the car to Ranjit Avenue and asked the salesman to ring the doorbell of a flat to call his father as he wanted to surprise his family. As soon as Kanwalpreet stepped out of the vehicle, the accused sped away with the car," added Singh, the complainant in the case.
As a routine precautionary measure, the showroom had noted down the driving licence number, the mobile number and the address of the man. However, all the information was found to be fake.
"After the incident, we spoke to other car dealers. We found that the man had visited their showrooms too, but he was not given a test-drive," said Singh.
The police have registered a case under sections 420 (cheating and dishonesty), 379 (theft) at the Sultanwind Police station.
Amritsar police commissioner Ram Singh said, "A case has been registered. We are working on the case. This seems to be a new modus operandi of vehicle thieves. I have directed auto dealers to be very cautious before handing over car keys for a test-drive."
He added that the dealers must verify the address and phone number of a prospective client before handing over the car.