FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — A Fort Collins man is out thousands of dollars and a ride after buying a used car only to find out it was stolen when he went to register it at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“It has been a wild ride, that’s for sure,” victim Cody Kneipp said.
After saving up for a year, Kneipp said he came across an ad for a Toyota Yaris on Facebook Marketplace while searching for a fuel-efficient car and met up with the seller to buy it.
“It didn’t show any damage of being broken into so that was the weird thing,” Kneipp said. “He had the title, he had the original key, it just was so weird. I had VIN verification done, I had emissions done on it and nothing.”
About a week after purchasing the car, Kneipp said he went to the DMV to register it and they told him the car came up as stolen.
“I was dumbfounded it was literally a reaction of, ‘wait you’re kidding me right’ and she said ‘no, unfortunately, it is marked as stolen,’” Kneipp said.
Kneipp said the woman behind the counter told him it could just be that the systems weren’t updated and instructed.
“She’s like ‘oh yeah no no this happens all the time, owners get their stuff back and they just don’t tell us so the report stays open,’” Kneipp said.
However, police informed him that wasn’t the case.
“It was the original title, the original keys I have everything and no, they did research apparently the owners had left out of town for about a week,” Kneipp said.
Kneipp said police told him the original owners left their title and extra key in the glove box.
“I’m really happy that the original owners got their car back but yeah, I ended up being the victim basically,” Kneipp said.
Kneipp tells FOX31 he is now out $3,500 and a car. He never saw it coming and never wants someone else to be in his shoes.
“If anybody could be warned, this was just like the perfect storm,” Kneipp said.
Officials with the Aurora Police Department say there are ways to check a vehicle’s status before final purchase. You can typically contact your local police agency, give them the VIN, and they can tell you whether it is stolen or not. There are also online checks you can do for vehicles as well. In Kneipp’s case, he said the online VIN verification came back clear when he looked up the car.
Aurora police are now looking for the thief who listed his name as Yoni on the Facebook Marketplace ad and went by “Claudio Amador.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at (720) 913-7867.
Kneipp said police told him not to count on getting his money back, even if they catch the thief. He has a GoFundMe set up.