Gwinnett County

Car stolen after man drops it off for service at metro dealership

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Most everyone has dropped their car off for service at some point, but one metro Atlanta man learned his lesson about absentmindedly leaving your car to be serviced when his car was stolen from the dealership.

James Coleman hadn’t even left the lot when he saw his 2020 Dodge Charger speeding away with a thief behind the wheel.

“I’m like, ‘this can’t be happening,’” he told Channel 2′s Tony Thomas.

Coleman took his car to the Stone Mountain Highway dealership to have it serviced. He says he dropped it off in the service and line and when an employee moved it up in line, they left the keys in it. That’s when the thief hopped in and drove away.

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The car was found in DeKalb County, but had been damaged from a hit and run shortly after the theft. Police say they have not identified the alleged thief.

“Words can’t tell how frustrated I am about this,” Coleman said. “It’s been affecting my sleep, my moods.”

Coleman isn’t just frustrated at the theft, but the aftermath as well.

Neither his insurance or the dealership is paying for the damages. The dealership is also holding the car until someone pays for it.

In a statement, the dealership’s lawyer wrote, “As for any damage to the customer’s vehicle, we are working with him and insurance companies on the resolution.”


Coleman called the Clark Howard Consumer Action Center for help, and found out he’s not the only one this has happened to.

“This is not the first time I’ve heard about a vehicle being stolen from a car dealer,” Howard said.

Howard’s advice to Coleman was to sue the dealer in small claims court.

“The truth is the insurance policies are written to hold you for as many things as possible,” he explained.

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According to police reports, a second Dodge Charger was seen leaving the dealership behind Coleman’s and could have been involved. The suspect jumped out of a white Volkswagen.