The Judicial Investigating Organization said it has at least 25 complaints already this year.
One man was detained Monday, but the scams and extortion continue. So far this year 20 men and a woman have been detained on charges related to this type of crime.
Typically the crook shows up in response to a classified ad and seeks to try out a vehicle that is for sale. If the owner allows him to do so, the crook simply takes the car. Later, the owner may receive a telephone call offering to return the car for the payment of $1,000 or $2,000.
In a more complex theft, the crook says he wants to buy the car and directs the owner to an office where a lawyer is said to wait to do the transfer paperwork. The vehicle owner goes in search of the lawyer only to return to find that the car and supposed buyer is gone.
Monday Judicial agents recovered a Mitsubishi Montero Sport that was taken Saturday by a man who said he wanted to have a mechanic inspect the car. The owner went to a waiting room in a vehicle repair shop in Calle Blancos only to find out that the vehicle vanished and that there was no mechanic there to inspect the vehicle.
The owner was lucky. Agents found the car in San Rafael Arriba de Desamparados and made an arrest. It is one of 13 vehicles that have been recovered this year, agents said.
The judicial police have some recommendations to sellers of cars, but they are obvious. Plus it is possible that when pressed, a car thief will pull a gun. However, the agency urges those who are victimized to file a report.