Man arrested for theft of vehicle allegedly says it was a test drive

Shaun Alan Smith - Submitted photo
Shaun Alan Smith - Submitted photo

STEVEN MROSS

The Sentinel-Record

A Delight man arrested Tuesday after allegedly stealing a vehicle from a local car dealership reportedly claimed he was taking the car for a test drive and planned to return it.

Shaun Alan Smith, 40, was taken into custody around noon and charged with theft of property over $25,000, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Smith was being held on a $5,000 bond and was set to appear Wednesday in Garland County District Court. According to court records, he was arrested on Jan. 24 on a felony count of theft by receiving and two misdemeanor counts of theft by receiving and pleaded not guilty the next day with a review hearing set for Friday.

According to the probable cause affidavit, shortly after 11 a.m., the Garland County Sheriff's Office received a call from John Gibson Auto Sales, 1425 Airport Road, about a white male in a blue shirt who had just stolen a white 2020 Ford Mustang convertible from the lot.

Minutes later, staff members from the dealership advised dispatchers the vehicle's GPS tracking device showed the car was at Holcomb's Towing and Recovery, 2283 Airport Road.

Deputies found the Mustang parked in front of Holcomb's and located a man inside, identified as Smith, who matched the description of the one who took the car.

Smith allegedly made a spontaneous statement that "he was going to bring the car back" and he believed "it was OK for him to take the vehicle for a short time as a 'test drive.'"

An employee from the dealership arrived at the scene and told deputies no one from his company had given Smith permission to take the vehicle. He noted the protocol for a test drive is for the potential customer to provide their driver's license along with other paperwork which was not done with Smith.

Sheriff's investigators arrived and reviewed security video at Holcomb's that reportedly showed the Mustang pulling onto the property at 11:06 a.m. and parked where it was located. Smith could be seen exiting the driver's seat and walking into the lobby of Holcomb's where he remained until deputies arrived.

Smith reportedly handed the keys to the car to the dealership employee before being detained by deputies. Smith was taken to the Garland County Detention Center where he was questioned after being read his rights.

In the interview, Smith allegedly stated he assumed that since the keys were in the vehicle, he was allowed to take it "as long as he brought it back in a reasonable amount of time." He reportedly admitted no one had given him permission to take the vehicle at any point and he went to Holcomb's to retrieve property from his vehicle, which was impounded.

Smith was reportedly arrested Monday by Hot Springs police for driving on a suspended license and later released on a $500 bond while his vehicle was impounded.

Upcoming Events