A thief who stole a man's car after asking for a test drive then asked him for £500 to reveal the location.
Jake Bateson, 27, from Moseley, advertised his KIA Rio on Autotrader, but a man posing as a buyer stole it from near his home after asking to take it for a test drive on 12 April.
The thief then 'floored the car with the door open' outside his house, before going on to message him demanding £500 for the location of the car - a blackmail attempt he passed onto police.
Texts show the thief ending the extortion attempt by saying: "Loooool x"
Mr Bateson's friend, from Kings Heath, who asked not to be named, also had his VW Golf stolen by the same thief in the same way after posting an ad on Gumtree weeks earlier.
Both men reported the thefts to West Midlands Police, with officers now confirming they believe both cases are linked to the 'same offender'.
Mr Bateson told BirmimghamLive: "I feel quite shocked and shaken. We were taken advantage of. You do it all in good faith and don't want to be cynical about people spinning you a web of lies.
"Perhaps I should have asked to see his driving licence at the start - but that just feels like an unnatural thing to do."
The offender is described as between 25 and 35, mid-height and overweight, Asian, with short black hair and sporting a beard. He also walked with a 'noticeable' limp.
Explaining what happened, Mr Bateson said: "He said he was in the area and would be with me in 20-minutes. I wasn't expecting it so soon, but I quickly drew up a contract.
"He was asking about coronavirus and social distancing and 'was it alright two keep 2m distance?' I said that was fine and would wear a mask.
"At that point we swapped details, so I had his number and I gave him my address. He came walking down the road and looked around the car.
"He said his name was 'Sid' - which I know not to be true as the same thing happened to a friend a few weeks before. His description also matched with this guy.
"He told me about his family, his pregnant wife. We had a test drive - I was in the back passenger seat on the opposite side to the left with a mask on.
"He drove around the block for about 10-minutes. We pulled back into my road and said 'shall we go and get the paperwork then?'
"He made to get out of the car and I did get out of the car. I was standing in the doorway with the door open. In the space of about five-seconds he got back in the car, turned on the engine and floored the car with the door open down the road."
He said a vehicle recovery company said his car was found days later "completely battered, unusable and on false plates", in nearby Sparkbrook.
A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police said: "We received a report of a car theft in Kings Heath at 1.45pm on 7 March.
"The victim listed his VW Golf for sale on Gumtree, the offender attended the address and drove off in the vehicle without paying for the car.
"We also received a report of a car theft in Moseley at 6.30pm on 12 April. The victim put his car up for sale online and after arriving to view the Kio Rio, the offender drove away without making payment.
"The two crime reports have been reviewed and there are similarities to both crimes and we believe it is the same offender."
Featured Image Credit: Birmingham Live
Topics: UK News
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