Susan Friedman of Laguna Beach had taken her Ferrari 458 Spider to a service center for maintenance, after which, to her horror, it was reported missing. However, her misery soon came to a happy ending as she is now the proud owner of a 2018 Lamborghini Huracán.
The Ferrari, reportedly having a cost around $300,000, was stolen from the Ferrari & Maserati Newport Beach service center in Costa Mesa by a man who had no idea what to do with his pricey haul. He was found two weeks later at a gas station, begging for money to refill the car's gas tank.
This suspicious behaviour prompted the Santa Ana police to investigate, which revealed that the white 2015 Ferrari had been stolen two weeks earlier. The man tried to flee but was nabbed and arrested by the police.
"After running away from the vehicle, the suspect was arrested behind the bushes at the entrance to the Holiday Inn," said Anthony Bertagna, spokesman for the Santa Ana Police Department.
The car, when found, was in a trashed state: with cracked fins, damaged gearbox, torn engine and body emblems, missing paddle shifters and caked vomit on its sides, reports Los Angeles Times.
CCTV footage showed a man wearing a Ferrari jacket walking into the service center, moving past employees, looking inside car windows and finally driving off in the white Ferrari. It has been reported that a worker left the car keys on the passenger seat. It was more than a day later that people realised a theft had taken place, after which Costa Meca police were called to the scene.
The suspect, Israel Perez Rangel, has a history of crime since 2002, including drug possession, vehicle theft, shoplifting, resisting arrest, assault with a deadly weapon, evading a police officer with reckless driving and many others, according to court reports.
The suspect has been charged with vehicle theft with a previous felony conviction of driving or taking a vehicle, grand theft auto with a prior conviction and vandalism, to which he has pleaded not guilty on November 3. He now faces possible sentence enhancement on accusation of theft over $200,000, says Orange County Superior Court records.
The car owner, Friedman, initially thought the theft to be the work of a crime gang operating to export cars to Asia. However, other evidence came to light on November 1, when a citizen reported a Ferrari being driven recklessly around Dyer Road and Hotel Terrace, Santa Ana.
However, all is well that ends well, as Friedman's insurance agency gave her a check for the damaged vehicle, with which she bought the brand new Lamborghini car.
"I love it," she said. "It's unbelievable."