In what is a shocking incident, a conman walked into a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Vashi last Friday and drove out with a brand new unregistered white CLA 200 CDI worth INR 34.5 lakhs. He tactfully ditched the unsuspecting sales executive who accompanied him during the test drive midway before making a run for it. Details of the theft, as reported by Times of India, are as follows.Mercedes CLA stolen from Mumbai dealership was taken for a test drive by a conman who is believed to be 35-40 years old. (image: Euro-spec base CLA model)
The conman who reportedly declared himself as one Viraj Mhatre, resident of Virar, successfully hooked his marks and convinced them that he is indeed a prospective buyer. He opted to test drive the stolen car in question and drove it towards a hotel in Nerul which he claimed to own.
Accompanied by a 26 year old sales executive, the conman reached the hotel and made her wait inside under the pretext of signing a cheque as payment for the car and vanished with the stylish 4-door coupe. After realizing she’s been played, the sales executive consulted his manager and reportedly lodged a complain at APMC police station.
It’s said that the thief entered the showroom at around 2:15 pm in the afternoon and the complaint was registered at 8:50 pm in the evening. For a man who appears to have had a perfect plan in place, a window of more than 6 hours was sufficient to make a clean getaway.The four-door luxury coupe is currently being imported into India as a CBU (image: CLA 45 AMG).
It’s safe to assume that he had his escape plan sorted out before he even walked into that showroom. From CCTV footages, the police managed to identify a motorcycle which was suspected to be ridden by an accomplice. The mystery motorcycle rider followed the car from the showroom to hotel and his license plate turned out to be bogus. As of now, there appears to be no hot lead to trace the stolen Mercedes or the thief.
Premium car dealerships are not really easy targets for a car thief as the sales personnel will offer a test drive only after verifying relevant documentation like driving license. Unfortunately for the Mumbai Merc dealership, the conman must have made exactly the right moves.
As of now, he is either too far away from the ground zero or lying too deep for the heat to die down before fencing his loot. However, trying to dispose of a brand new stolen luxury car is much more difficult than stealing it and we hope he is brought to justice.