- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

OMAHA, NEB. (AP) - Police have located three missing executives from a car dealership where 81 new vehicles worth roughly $2.5 million vanished, and at least one of the three has been arrested.

Scottsbluff Police Capt. Kevin Spencer told KNEB radio that Legacy Auto Sales controller Rachel Fait, 37, had been arrested in Tooele County, Utah.

Spencer says the dealership’s owner, Allen Patch, 52, had been contacted through his lawyer in Utah. The dealership’s general manager, Rick Covello, 53, called police Wednesday afternoon from out of state and arranged to turn himself in.

All three previously lived in Utah.

Spencer did not respond to a message from The Associated Press left early Thursday morning.

About two dozen vehicles missing from the Scottsbluff dealership were traced to Salt Lake City, and at least 16 of those had been sold at an auto auction. Six others were found at the Scottsbluff airport, and the FBI found some of the other vehicles in Las Vegas.

The missing vehicles were all Fords and Toyotas. The Fords were put on transporter trucks and taken away Saturday and the Toyotas were shipped out late Monday, John Childress, Scotts Bluff County’s chief deputy county attorney, said Wednesday.

Miranda Cervantes, the dealership’s title manager, told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald she returned to work Tuesday after a day off and found the lot was virtually empty. She said the desks of Patch, Fait and Covello had been cleaned out.

Cervantes has not responded to calls seeking additional comment.

Legacy Auto Sales remained open Thursday despite the missing cars and executives.

Justin Leach, a spokesman for Toyota Financing in Torrance, Calif., said Patch financed the Toyotas and Fords through his company.

Leach said there are some provisions that would allow a dealer to move vehicles, but when the dealer and the cars go missing there’s reason to be concerned.

Legacy has had financial problems, Childress said, and authorities suspect Patch and his associates were looking to sell the vehicles to auction houses and keep the proceeds rather than pay Toyota Financing. He said the three have no criminal records in Nebraska.


Associated Press Writer Eric Olson contributed to this report.


On the Net:

Legacy: https://www.legacyfordscottsbluff.com

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