Sunday, March 12, 2017

Man arrested after elaborate auto theft scheme in Wheaton, Burtonsville

Nicholas Ryan Metz
An alleged Craigslist and 5miles swindler who drove off in a Toyota from a Burtonsville park has been driven right to the slammer. Montgomery County Police announced they have identified Nicholas Ryan Metz, 33, of Jessup, and charged him with vehicle theft, forgery, and other related offenses. Metz allegedly bought three cars in Burtonsville and Wheaton with counterfeit cashier’s checks, and then sold the vehicles to buyers who were unaware they were stolen.

In one of the three incidents, Metz allegedly met his victim at an unspecified Burtonsville park on December 20, 2016. He gave the victim one of the counterfeit checks, police say, in exchange for the victim's 2016 Toyota Corolla. But when the victim informed Metz he was calling the bank to verify the check, Metz allegedly asked if he could test drive the car. The victim agreed. Police say Metz then instead drove the car toward the exit of the park, as two accomplices maneuvered their vehicles to block the victim from chasing the Toyota out of the park.

Detectives say Metz eventually sold the Corolla to an Anne Arundel County resident. Metz has also been charged with in a second incident in Wheaton, where he allegedly defrauded another auto seller out of her 2008 Mercury Mariner and 2000 Ford Explorer. The victim found out the checks were counterfeit after contacting the bank later in the day.

Montgomery County Police obtained an arrest warrant for Metz in early February. Metz is behind bars at the Howard County Department of Corrections in connection with similar crimes elsewhere.

For that reason, Montgomery County Police believe there could be more victims. Detectives urge anyone who has information related to Metz’s scheme, or believe that they may have been the victim of a fraudulent sale of a motor vehicle by Metz, to contact the Central Auto Theft Unit at 240-773-6370.

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