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Police warn of recall scam with man showing up to pick up vehicles

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at 1:58 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at 2:52 p.m.

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Wichita police are warning residents and business owners of a scam in which someone claims to be retrieving vehicles that have been recalled for safety reasons.

Two recent incidents a day apart both involved a suspect that may have been the same person, police Lt. Dan East said.

On July 10, a man walked into the Wichita public schools offices downtown and said he was with a local car dealership and had come to pick up a vehicle for a safety recall service, East said. He gave them a vehicle identification number and tag number for a vehicle.

When USD 259 employees questioned him more, the suspect left without taking the vehicle. Employees described him as a white man in his 30s who is about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds.

He had brown hair and wore sunglasses and a red and black baseball hat. He also wore blue jeans and a white shirt over a dark-colored T-shirt, along with an orange safety vest, East said.

The next day, a man walked into the American Red Cross offices at 707 N. Main and told people there he was from a particular dealership and he was there to pick up a vehicle for a safety recall service. He gave them a vehicle identification number and license tag number and left with the vehicle that matched those numbers: a 2014 Dodge van with Red Cross decals on its side.

It has the license plate number 505 GNR, East said.

Red Cross employees said the suspect was a white male in his late 20s who is about 6 feet tall, wore sunglasses and a red and black baseball cap. He also wore jeans, a white shirt and an orange safety vest.

“From the description, it appears it’s the same individual” as the incident the day before, East said.

Dealerships have told police recalls are not handled in that way, he said. Manufacturers will contact vehicle owners directly, who then make arrangements for the recall service to be done.

Anyone with information about the suspect is encouraged to call investigators at 316-268-4407 or Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111, East said.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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