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But the pandemic has made sales operations vulnerable. And this thief preyed upon that.

Police explained the unidentified man provided ID and a phone number and, appearing legitimate, the good-natured sales staff handed over the keys so the customer could take a test drive alone and feel safe from the possible spread of the virus.

A car thief has been visiting dealerships in Halton Region, taking test drives in high-end vehicles alone because of COVID-19, and not returning. The thief seems to have a penchant for Mercedes Benz C-Class (similar to the ones seen here) and GLE models. Photo by Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. /CNW Group

Problem is, he never came back.

And he did this at two other locations without a hitch. Then came the one time a dealer decided it would be best for a sales person travel along. The thief was ready for that. And had some help.

“Due to COVID-19 policies, on three occasions the suspect has been allowed to test drive the vehicle alone, and leaves the dealership without returning,” Halton Regeional Police said in a statement released this week. “On one occasion when the suspect was accompanied on the test drive by an employee, a secondary vehicle became involved.”

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A staged crash!

“Police believe a collision was intentionally initiated,” cops said in the statement. “Once the employee exited the vehicle to inspect the damage, both vehicles fled the scene.”

So that’s four high-end vehicles swiped. The vehicles targeted have been white and black 2016-2018 Mercedes Benz C-Class and GLE models.

Where are the cars now? In a garage somewhere? On their way off-shore to an awaiting customer?

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