A Houston car salesman had an unpleasant surprise on a routine test drive when he was reportedly beaten and stuffed into the trunk by customer interested in a five-finger discount on a Dodge Challenger.
According to KHOU, the incident occurred at Gillman Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Houston. Monday was supposed to be salesman Jose Martinez’s day off, but he saw a customer walk inside the dealership at around 6:00 p.m. and went to work.
Martinez told KTRK that he had some reservations about this particular customer:
I knew that guy was a little sketch when I first met him. He kept on talking weird and I thought let’s just go on a quick test drive and come back.
Soon after the pair got going, Martinez noticed two men in a second car following the Challenger. The driver then drove past the Gillman dealership onto a poorly lit road where he then punched Martinez in the face after Martinez demanded the keys back, reports Automotive News.
KHOU reports that the two men following the Challenger then got out, beat Martinez and tied him up with his own belt and some tape before putting him in the Challenger’s trunk.
Martinez told KHOU:
I asked them why they were doing it while I was in the trunk. They told me to stop asking questions. They were taping me up and I said do you want money? What do you need? Let me go you can have the car. They said “No, you’re coming with us.”
Quick thinking on Martinez’s part helped him escape. He continued his story to KHOU:
They were celebrating, laughing, saying “we got the car.” All that time, I got out of the tape almost instantly and got the belt off.
I called my [general manager], I let him know what was going on really quick. I sent a co-worker of mine who is a really good friend of mine, I sent him my current location and put my tracking on.
KTRK reports that Martinez called 911 after only about five minutes inside the trunk. He also set up the “Find My iPhone” feature on his phone from inside the trunk. Smart! Both Martinez’s manager and the police were able to use that feature to keep tabs on the car’s location.
When the kidnappers overheard Martinez trying to escape, that’s when they decided to check up on him. As soon as the car stopped, Martinez was able to yank the glow-in-the-dark escape handle inside the Challenger’s trunk to get out, per KTRK.
Martinez’s kidnappers still tried to fight him once he was out, but they made a basic Texan mistake. Never bring a gun into a fight that you don’t know how to use here—there’s a good chance that whoever you’re fighting does know how to use it and will use it against you. Martinez told KHOU:
His friend came in and he had a gun. He dropped it, because he doesn’t know how to fight whatsoever. I fired at him, and the other guy started running. The gun had no more bullets in it.
Martinez told KTRK that he shot one of his attackers in the neck, but was unable to get a good look at any of their faces. He identified the suspects as tall black men, with the driver at the time being a skinny man of about 6’5” in height. The dealership has a copy of the original test driver’s license on file, as is company policy.
Unfortunately, that’s when the three suspects fled. Houston police spokesman Victor Senties told Automotive News that the wounded suspect got into a silver four-door sedan and drove off, possibly with the help of another suspect. Two other suspects fled in the Challenger, reports KHOU.
Per KTRK, Martinez’s phone was still in the trunk, which police used to track down the car. The suspects led police on a chase until they crashed the car into a postal truck, at which point all three suspects abandoned the shiny red Challenger on foot.
Area police have been unable to catch the men responsible. KHOU reports that Martinez is still recovering from his injuries, which include gashes all over his body and a fractured nose, however, he will return to work as soon as he is healed.
Screenshot via KHOU
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