A Nightmare on Valley Boulevard
This year’s Tale from the Asset Manager
begins at a well-known truck dealership on Valley Boulevard in Fontana, California.
The customer stepped out of his taxi onto the dealership lot and walked to the office ready to pick up the keys to his 2008 Freightliner Columbia 120. Documentation had been signed, insurance confirmed and the vehicle title was being readied for reassignment. The only items left to do were the test drive and the verbal interview with Maxim’s funding coordinator.
The dealership had washed and waxed the rig the previous evening in preparation for pick-up. After being cleaned, the truck was parked at the front of the lot—ready to roll out.
When the customer walked in, he was greeted by a polite, but frantic F&I manager who explained that Maxim was ready to fund once the verbal was complete. However, the verbal could not be completed until after the test drive… and the test drive could not be completed until the truck was located.
The truck was confirmed missing from the lot. The F&I Manager called and explained the situation to the Maxim team. Luckily, Maxim required a GPS unit be installed in the vehicle before funding. The unit was pinged and the truck was pinpointed to an address just a few miles down the road from the dealership.
Local police investigators made it out to the dealership lot and confirmed the missing vehicle along with the GPS location information. The cops then tracked the truck to a nearby garage. When they walked in, they found piles of tractor-trailer parts and—in the very back—a chop shop with the missing Freightliner already in the process of being stripped.
The criminal disassembling the truck had stopped for lunch and was halfway through his sandwich when the police cuffed him. The truck and its identifiable parts were returned to the dealership, but the policed stayed at the garage. As more affiliates came to the shop throughout the day, the police were able to link up and shut down an entire big rig chop shop crime ring in the Southern California area.
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