Man steals keys, car from Columbus Toyota dealership while people still inside store

Courtesy Toyota West/Acadian Monitoring Services

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Police are investigating a brazen theft from a west side auto dealer just moments before closing.

It happened Tuesday night at Toyota West on Georgesville Road. Surveillance video captured the thief in action.

suspect 1There were still employees and buyers on the show room floor when the suspect quietly made the heist, snatching some keys and rushing outside to take car.

Toyota West hopes someone recognizes him and calls police.

Greg O’Mara, Toyota West Internet Sales Manager, said the theft happened just after close.

One customer in particular came for a quick steal of a deal, with surveillance cameras capturing his every move.

“(He) walked in and waited for the opportune time and he took the keys just that quick…In a matter of nine minutes, the gentleman had come in the store, found a set of keys, and drove off the lot,” O’Mara said.

suspect 3 suspect 4The suspect, who is wearing a red hooded sweatshirt, goes outside and begins testing the keys, looking for a car. Right by the front door, the lights to a 2007 GMC Arcadia flash. The suspect jumps inside. At the same time, inside the showroom, a frantic salesman is searching for the keys and his phone.

“(The salesman) went back and saw the cell phone and keys were missing,” O’Mara said. “Kind of looked around, thinking he sat it down in a different spot. Within a few minutes they saw the car start and take off.”

Just like that, the $12,000 SUV sailed off the lot, and where it is now is anyone’s guess.

“This guy was slick,” O’Mara said. “He was methodical in his actions and he knew what his goal was.”

Toyota West is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest the his suspect and the return of the stolen SUV. Contact Columbus Police if you have a tip.

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