Unusual crime starts with test drive truck theft and ends in deadly crash

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EASTLAKE, Ohio- Officers responded to an unusual grand theft auto call late Tuesday afternoon, according to Lt. Robert Gonzalez with the Eastlake Police Department.

"The owner of Transportation Outlet on Vine Street had contacted us to say that he had an individual come in just a little after four o’clock and wanted to look at a pick-up truck," said Lt. Gonzalez.

Police said the suspect asked to test drive the truck but the owner said no because the suspect couldn’t provide any identification.

However, the owner did say yes to starting the truck so the suspect could listen to the engine.

"It was at that point that another customer came up and wanted to talk to the dealership owner about another vehicle on the lot.  As he turned his back to deal with the other customer, that’s when this male jumped into the pick-up truck and took off with it out of the lot," said Lt. Gonzalez.

From there, police said they were contacted by a woman who claimed she saw the suspect hit her car outside an apartment in East Cleveland.

"A short time later, that woman says she saw the man start to pull out of a parking spot and he struck her vehicle several times as he was trying to back out.  She noticed the truck had no license plate but it had the dealership’s logo on the plate," said Lt. Gonzalez.

And, an even more unusual twist Wednesday. "Shortly after one o’clock that morning, Shaker Heights police had contacted our agency that they had located this truck in their city after it had been involved in a fatal crash," said Lt. Gonzalez.

Police said the suspect, a 22-year-old Cleveland man, died in that crash.

There were no other injuries in either incident.