32-year-old Houston man spends 6 days in jail falsely accused of stealing car he bought

- It was a Craigslist ad the man says that prompted him to buy a 1997 Honda Accord from a small  privately operated used car lot in southeast Houston.

He paid 700 dollars for the car but in the end it cost him much more than that.

He says he’s so embarrassed over the ordeal, he asked that we not show his face or say his name. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving an HPD officer pulled him over for a traffic violation.

“Actually several police pulled me over and pointed their weapons at me,” the man said. “They put me in the back of the car and started searching the car then they informed me the car was reported stolen.”

The man’s attorney, Randall Kallinen says his client had a bill of sale proving it was his.

“And he asked the officer if he could go get it but the officer refused,” Kallinen said.

The man spent Thanksgiving Day until the following Tuesday in the Harris County Jail.

“Not being from Houston it was kind of scary,” the man said. “I didn’t know what was going on I was worried the misunderstanding might take months out of my life.”

On that Tuesday he was told the felony criminal charges filed against him were dropped.
The reason? According to court documents the woman who previously owned the car discovered it hadn’t been stolen after all.

Turns out her daughter sold it to the car lot for cash.

“How is it that a used car dealership doesn’t check to see whether a car is stolen before they buy it and make sure the seller of that vehicle to the car dealership is the actual legitimate owner,” Kallinen said.

We spoke to the car lot owner who told us he thought the daughter was selling the car for her mother.
The man purchased the car on November 5th. It wasn’t reported stolen until November the 16th.
Once the woman learned the truth she contacted police who in turn contacted the D.A’S office.

That office tells us as soon as the truth came out the charges were dismissed and the man was released from jail in less than a day.

The man says the 6 day jail stint cost him his job and he had to pay over 400 dollars to get the car out of storage.

His attorney is deciding if any legal action can be taken.

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