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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) — A Naperville car dealership is among those who have been duped by a serial car thief with a taste for the finer things.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Debra Dale reports, Justin Durbin, 22, of Altus, Okla., is wanted in four states for allegedly taking luxury cars for test drives and never bringing them back.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Debra Dale reports
Police say Durbin took off in a black 2003 Mercedes Benz SL worth $20,000 from a dealership in Fishers, Ind., and drove it to Mercedes Benz of Naperville, 1569 W. Ogden Ave., last month. He left it there and took another car – also a 2003 Mercedes Benz SL 550 – for a test drive, and never returned.
That car was worth $33,393.
Naperville police Sgt. Gregg Bell said Durbin went inside the dealership “asking to test-drive the vehicle, and somewhere during the ruse, he mentions he has a father who also might be interested in the vehicle.”
An employee gave Durbin the keys to the car. “And he never came back,” Bell said.
Durbin allegedly left the car from Naperville at dealership in O’Fallon, Mo., while he took off with a luxury sport-utility vehicle.
Durbin appears to have most recently struck late Tuesday afternoon at a dealership just outside Naples, Fla. A four-paragraph crime report provided by Naples police Lt. John Barkley indicated Durbin at that time was driving a red, 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK 350 SUV valued at $43,000 and bearing a Florida license plate.
As in the Naperville case, Durbin allegedly told a dealership sales consultant he was “interested in purchasing a vehicle, and stated he was going to speak with his father,” according to the police report. The salesman later received a text message purportedly sent by Durbin’s father, who said “he thought his son would be more interested in a gray, 2007 Bentley GT Continental valued at $97,900,” the report stated.
Durbin returned to the dealership, inspected the Bentley and said he would get a check from a Naples bank to pay for it, the report stated. The salesman drove the car to a designated meeting place outside a lawyer’s office in Naples.
The salesman got out of the car and watched as Durbin drove away in it, according to the report. The salesman waited an hour before calling police, later telling them he thought Durbin was under the mistaken impression he could take the car for a test drive, the report stated.
It could not be learned Thursday where in Florida Durbin obtained the SUV he “swapped” for the Bentley. The SUV was later found on the top floor of a downtown Naples parking garage.
Bell said each stolen vehicle to date has been recovered “in excellent condition” after being abandoned at or near the next dealership targeted by Durbin.
He added Naperville police were contacted Thursday by their counterparts in Lake County, Fla., concerning Durbin and the stolen vehicles. Naples is in Lake County, Fla.
A report in the Naples News indicated Durbin is wanted in Alachua County, Fla., on nine felony counts of larceny, fraud and dealing in stolen property. Those alleged crimes occurred in March and May, according to the newspaper.
Records on file in DuPage County Circuit Court in Wheaton indicated Durbin is to stand trial here on one felony count of aggravated unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle valued at $25,000 or more; and two counts of receiving, possessing or selling a stolen motor vehicle, all stemming from the Naperville incident.
Bell said Durbin stands 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighs 150 pounds and has blue eyes and brown hair.
The Naperville Sun contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire