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Car theft with fake registrations is rampant. A couple in Houston found out the hard way when they bought or thought they bought, a 2022 Ram pickup for a steal. And it was a steal, or rather, stolen. The truck was actually a stolen rental truck. The woman said, “While the price seemed too good to be true, the documentation at the time seemed legitimate.” Now, she and her husband are out $16,000, which was the sale price. 

How did the thief prove it wasn’t a stolen truck?

Box of money
Box of stolen money | Getty

The couple previously made two hassle-free purchases from Craigslist, so what could go wrong? “He showed a blue title to us and he even had a Carfax report with his name on it,” she told Click2Houston. “And he showed us the ID. Everything matched, the VIN number matched the truck.”

She said that the seller let them take it for a test drive, and even posed for a photo with the couple before going to the bank to finish the transaction. Throughout the transaction, the seller kept telling the couple he wanted cash. It almost killed the deal. But the seller had a reason.

Why did the couple pay cash for the stolen truck?

2022 Ram Limited
2022 Ram 1500 Limited | Ram

The man told the couple he needed the cash because he was getting a divorce and didn’t want his wife to know he had the money. There are lots of good reasons to accept cash, especially under those circumstances. Everyone wants to help a nice guy.

So the couple went to the bank and left with two stuffed envelopes of $100 bills. With the transaction complete, the couple’s next stop was the Department of Motor Vehicles to get the registration. The bad news was revealed soon after arriving there.

The stolen truck was an Avis rental truck

Kleptopoly board game displayed | Getty

“The title, she told me to look at very carefully,” the DMV woman told them. “He erased it and typed in his name.” Houston police said that the truck was an Avis rental from San Antonio. It was to be returned a few days later, which is why Avis had not reported the truck stolen

Houston police have the truck and are trying to identify the thief. “Very sad. Probably not because of the $16,000, but you feel like you can trust people. You feel like you got cheated,” the couple said. Yes, all of this is true. 

But you have to be on your guard buying vehicles from Craigslist listings. Over the past several years the number of scams has increased. Then there is the problem of his reason for the cash.

The couple could also be charged with a crime

police with cash
Patrolman James Huddleston looks over $6,100 | Getty

If you knowingly participate in scamming a spouse in the middle of a divorce. You’re helping a spouse hide assets. That opens you up to being a party to a crime, which can include jail time. 

And finally, that saying about being too good to be true? Over the centuries it has been proven millions of times. Yes, centuries. It dates back to 1580 for author Thomas Lupton’s “Sivquila.” And no, it’s not tequila misspelled. 

So just the fact it rings so true in 2022 means something. Use it to guide your private party purchases.


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