DMV arrests Texas man in stolen truck sale; how to avoid getting taken

Daniel Lopez Jr.
Daniel Lopez Jr.(Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles)
Published: Nov. 13, 2021 at 12:32 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (KOLO) -An 18-year-old Texas man was arrested Oct. 14 in Las Vegas trying to sell a stolen truck with a switched vehicle identification number, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles reported.

DMV officers undercover saw the attempted sale of the stolen truck to a buyer who did not know the truck had been stolen, the DMV said. Daniel Lopez Jr. offered the stolen truck for a discount if the sale was in cash, the DMV said.

Lopez was booked into the Clark County jail on two counts each of possession/transfer of a stolen vehicle and intent to utter fictitious bill/note and obtaining money under false pretenses. The investigation shows Lopez made one illegal sale for about $18,000 before being caught.

“The buyer, in this case, was unaware that when they attempt to register or title the vehicle at DMV, the stolen vehicle will be impounded and sent back to the jurisdiction from which it was stolen,” DMV Compliance Enforcement Division Chief J.D. Decker said in a statement. “The victim will be out any cash they exchanged for the purchase.”

There are ways to spot these types of illegal sales, the DMV said.

“The most sure-fire method for detecting a fraudulent vehicle sale is to bring the vehicle to a DMV inspection station and have the vehicle checked and complete the sale there,” Decker said.

The inspection is free and no appointment is necessary. DMV inspectors can check for stolen vehicle reports and look for red flags like improper registration or title.

Consumers can also check for stolen vehicle status on the National Insurance Crime Bureau website.

The Nevada DMV offers these tips:

  • If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • A private party seller must provide a title to the vehicle. A Bill of Sale by itself is not acceptable. Look at the title carefully for poor print quality or other signs of forgery.
  • Be wary of sellers who want cash or transferred funds.
  • Do not purchase a car on an empty lot or public parking lot. Complete the sale at a DMV office, as suggested, or at the seller’s residence.
  • Check the ID of the seller and snap a photo of it if you can. Be suspicious of sellers who have an ID from one state and car registration from another.
  • Inspect the car for signs that it may be a rental or dealer inventory. Has a small sticker or a sign in the window been removed? Inspect the vehicle for flood damage as well.
  • An auto dealer must have a fixed place of business. Nevada dealers are not allowed to sell vehicles from homes, parking lots or empty corners. Dealers must also have a business license from the state they are selling in.

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