A man has been arrested after four vehicles were stolen from dealerships and private sellers over the past eight months.
It’s believed the spree began when the man went to a dealership in Wigan on December 7, 2020 to buy a Hyundai.
Greater Manchester Police say he showed staff his phone to demonstrate the funds had been transferred but the money wasn’t received.
The dealership only realised what had happened when it checked its accounts after he’d left.
On March 8, 2021, a man went to buy a BMW from a private seller at their home in Wythenshawe.
He presented the owner with ID, claiming to be an officer for British Transport Police, and agreed to buy the car after a test drive.
Again, he showed on his phone that the funds had been transferred but they never arrived in the owner’s account.
Only last month, on July 6, a man went to a home in Heywood to view a Ford Transit that was for sale. However, he pushed past the owner, grabbed the keys from the kitchen and drove off in the van.
The following week, on July 13, a man went to an address in Bolton to buy another Ford Transit. This time, he promised to transfer funds via online banking when he returned home but they never arrived.
Police stopped a vehicle on August 8 on the outskirts of Bradford after a man followed up an online advert the day before for tools being sold by a person in Stockport.
He made a payment via his online banking app but again the funds didn’t arrive, said police.
Following a search, they found various power tools inside that were believed to have been stolen.
A 20-year-old man was arrested by officers from the Rochdale Neighbourhood Task Force working with West Yorkshire Police and currently remains in custody. A total of 21 power tools were recovered.
Insp Andy Fern from the task force said: ‘This is just one example of our continuous commitment to tackling prolific vehicle crime across our district and across Greater Manchester.
‘Working with partners and colleagues in neighbouring forces, we will continue to work to find those responsible and bring them to justice.
‘A lot of the work we do to tackle the issue may not be visible, but catching those responsible remains a priority.
‘Cars are of both great value and sentimental value to some people, and we understand that having a car stolen can have a huge impact both financially and emotionally.’