HOUSTON (Fox 26) - The Houston Police Department needs help identifying a man captured on surveillance video leaving a car dealership’s lot with a customer’s wrecked Jeep Compass.
The incident happened on Saturday shortly before 4 p.m. at the Mac Haik Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram dealership on the North Freeway. The dealership’s sales department was still open, but the body shop was closed.
Jeffrey Goss says the stolen sport utility vehicle belonged to him. He thought things were looking up on Monday morning when he got a text from the dealership saying he car would be ready for pick-up at the end of the day. An hour later, he says he got a call from the dealership to inform him his car was stolen.
“This is a very random incident," says Shaun Jones, body shop manager with Mac Haik Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram. "We do everything we can to keep vehicles safe and this could have happened to anybody.”
In the surveillance video, a man is seen crawling under a garage door. He then opens another garage door while driving away in a Jeep Compass with front end damage. He steps out of the car to close the garage door and then gets back in the SUV and drives away in it.
“In watching him in the video, it looks like he just didn’t have a care in the world," adds Jones. "I mean, didn’t care of anybody saw him. He had a mission and that’s what he was here to do.”
Jones also says he has worked at the dealership for almost a decade and has never had a vehicle stolen from the body shop.
“Out of the thousands of vehicles on this lot that are new and driveable, why would you take something missing front end parts, having suspension damage, and just looking like a train wreck?” asks Jones. He says he believes the man in the video was tired of walking and used the car to get somewhere and likely abandoned it arriving or nearly arriving to his destination.
Jones adds that the SUV cannot be too far from dealership and spent Monday afternoon driving around the area to see if he could find it. Jones didn’t have any luck but he hopes someone else will recognize the SUV and the man in the video.
“I hope the guy gets caught," says Jones. "People entrust us with their vehicles.” He says the keys to vehicles in the body shop are usually left inside the cars but now he’s considering locking them up when the shop is closed.
“You’d never think somebody’s going to steal a car taken apart,” Jones tells FOX 26 News.
Anyone with information on the Jeep Compass or the man in the video can leave a tip with Crime Stoppers of Houston by phone at 713-222-8477 (TIPS) or contact the Houston Police Department Auto Theft Division at 713-308-3500 or by email at HPDAutoTheft.Division@HoustonPolice.Org.