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California Couple’s Ford Fusion ‘Given Away’ by Dealership While in for Service

In a funky turn of events, the Fusion can't be considered "stolen," because a dealer employee gave the keys to the "not-thief."

A couple from Sacramento, California is livid after their 2017 Ford Fusion was reportedly stolen from a Ford dealership while it was in for service last Friday. The kicker? The dealership handed the keys to the thief.

According to California Highway Patrol, a woman at the Future Ford dealership allegedly “leaned into the black Fusion,” and grabbed an identification tag belonging to Trish Russell, the rightful owner. She then used the tag to ask a dealership employee for the keys, which were apparently then handed to her, no identification required.

“We dropped off our vehicle for service for the A/C because it’s starting to get warm in Sacramento,” Steve Russell told WHNT. Russell and his wife Trish then apparently witnessed a dealership employee, to their dismay, leave the Fusion unlocked and unattended. “The employee left the vehicle unlocked. He had the keys with him,” said Russell. “About two hours later, we were called and someone said that our vehicle had been stolen from the lot.”

“When the police caught up with the thief to ask, ‘Why did you steal the car?’ The woman actually said, ‘I didn’t steal it, it was given to me,'” said Russell about the interaction. “Which is actually true. The keys were handed to this woman.”

The Fusion, which appeared to have been used by the Russells as an Uber and Lyft, was eventually recovered but apparently sustained heavy damage to its driver-front tire while its interior was “trashed.” The female suspect wasn’t arrested but has been charged with grand theft auto. 

Understandably, the Russells aren’t pleased with Future Ford’s apparent lack of security considering the damage a more determined or malicious thief could’ve done. “It took them an hour and a half to contact me,” said Russell. “Like everybody else, our garage remote and our address was in the vehicle. So my fear was they took my car and now they’re robbing us as well.”

Apparently, for insurance reasons, the dealership refused to comment on the incident but the Russells did say that Future Ford promised to pay to fix the Fusion. 

Even after the incident, however, it doesn’t sound like employees at the dealership are all that concerned about copycat car thieves. “Came the next day to trade in our loaner and would see again and again service techs bring vehicles up and walk away from them,” said Russell. “Even when questioned, ‘Why would you do that when somebody had just stolen a car from there?’ they just shrugged and kept on walking.”