MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – People test drive vehicles every day, but one customer had more in mind.
At first, nothing appeared out of the ordinary, but that all changed after the test drive was over.
A customer at Ford of Murfreesboro asked to take a vehicle out for a second ride, but this time he left the salesman behind, according to police.
There are more than 1,000 vehicles to choose from at the dealership on NW Broad Street, but it was one vehicle in particular that allegedly caught the eye of 30-year-old Michael Owens.
“Came in and wanted to take a test drive in one of our Roush Mustangs,” said General Sales Manager Arthur Hill.
A brand new, fully-loaded $66,450 Roush Mustang Stage 3.
Owens and the salesman took it for a spin around high noon Tuesday, according to police.
Once they made it back to the lot and got out the vehicle, Owens allegedly told the salesman he wanted to test drive again, so he handed him the keys.
Owens got back in, but before the salesman could get back inside, he locked the door. “Shot out and drove off,” Hill said.
Murfreesboro police issued a BOLO or be on the look-out for the stolen car.
Owen was spotted by a Rutherford County sheriff’s deputy on Jefferson Pike in Smyrna.
By the time the officer turned around, he said he saw Owens jump out of car while it was still rolling. The car crashed into a ditch.
Owens took off running, according to the deputy, and after a short foot pursuit he was taken into custody.
“We have a brand new car with both bumpers hanging off,” Hill said.
Owens is charged with theft over $60,000.
“Certainly a very bizarre test drive resulted in very serious criminal charges,” Murfreesboro police spokesman Sgt. Kyle Evans said.
Ford of Murfreesboro’s test drive policy is to have a salesman ride along with customers.
The sales managers said everything Owens gave the salesman in the showroom turned out to be fake, including the name Gregory Barnes.
“Everything in this case wasn’t legit, from phone numbers to pictures, everything was fake,” Hill said.
Owens was also driving on a revoked license, according to the arresting deputy.
Metro-Nashville police told News 2 they are investigating three similar test drive car thief cases.