JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) - Matt Nicol purchased a used pickup from K & K Auto Sales in Union, Mo. on February 12.
Nicol told News 4, “This is exactly the truck I wanted to get.”
Six weeks after purchasing the vehicle, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office sent deputies to Nicol’s home to confiscate the vehicle.
Mike Kamper owns the dealership that sold the truck.
Kamper said, “I was floored, I was speechless. I felt terrible for the guy.”
According to Kamper, he purchased the truck after finding an ad on Craigslist in December 2018. Kamper met the seller in a mall parking lot and paid cash for the truck.
He said, “Nothing gave me a bad vibe about it being a bad deal.”
Kamper never titled the vehicle in his name, and nothing came up when he ran the VIN through a system used by car dealers.
According to the Madison County Illinois Sheriff, the truck was stolen a few days prior to Kamper purchasing the vehicle.
The original owner also sold the car online and received a bogus cashier’s check from the crook. The original victim gave the crook the title and keys but didn’t realize the check was bogus for several days.
By the time the original owner reported it stolen, it was already in Kamper’s possession in Union.
On February 12, Nicol bought the truck and drove it immediately to the license bureau in Pacific, Missouri.
Nicol said, “When I took all the paperwork to the license office, the VIN number checked out fine. The title looked good and clean and they issued me plates that day.”
The Missouri Department of Revenue confirms VIN numbers are checked at the license office.
In Nicol’s case, the Missouri Highway Patrol became aware of the purchase two days after Nicol obtained plates.
According to the Highway Patrol, the agency generally gets involved “after the central office of DOR (Department of Revenue) runs a vehicle in the NMVTIS (National Motor Vehicle Title Information System) and receives a response that the vehicle has ever been listed as stolen…”
According to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, the truck was “still entered as stolen on the 14th of February after the plates had already been issued and the sale was complete. We received a HIT on the 14th of February and that is when it was removed from LEADS/NCIC.”
The truck was re-entered as stolen on March 4 after the Madison County, Illinois Sheriff “realized that the new title was not issued to the original owner or the insurance company.”
After the vehicle was re-entered as stolen, the Jefferson County Sheriff located the truck at Nicol’s home.
The truck was impounded by the sheriff.
Nicol did nothing wrong, but he’s out a lot of money.
Nicol told News 4 between the purchase price, sales tax, registration, and improvements, “I have $20,000 wrapped up in this vehicle.”
The truck is currently owned by Country Financial, the insurance company of the original victim.
Nicol says he’s tried to work with the insurance company to buy back the truck. Nicol says it’s set to be auctioned off, and so far there’s no deal to regain possession of the truck.
The Madison County Sheriff tells News 4 they are continuing to investigate. The original truck thief has not been arrested and no charges have been filed.
The Madison County Sheriff encourages anyone that’s considering a major purchase off a site like Craigslist to meet in their parking lot.
The sheriff’s office even has a designated internet exchange area on its lot. The lot is under video surveillance.
Click here to see a list of police department parking lots where you can make a Craigslist transaction.