Thursday, 24 May 2012 17:49

Shop Owner Arrested in ‘False Auto Theft’ Allegation

Massachusetts police arrested a man on charges of stealing a car from a body shop, then arrested the owner of the body shop on charges of filing a false stolen vehicle report and misleading or lying to police during the investigation.

The 2007 Acura TL sedan was reported stolen by Jose Munoz, 41, owner of Munoz Auto Body, 11 Alden Court, in Lawrence, MA, on April 26. Police said Munoz knew who had stolen the car and agreed to come to the station to speak to police. Munoz said he had sold a Honda Accord to Gorki Rafael “Bebo” Gonzalez, 26, of 25 Hale St. Gonzalez came back to the shop April 25 saying he didn’t like the color of the Honda and wanted his money back, which Munoz said he wouldn’t do.

Munoz told police he went to the paint room to paint another car, and when he returned to the office, noticed the Acura that had been parked in front of the business was missing. A security video showed Gonzalez entering the office, taking the keys to the Acura, then driving off in it.

Munoz told police he called Gonzalez, who told him he would return the Acura when he got his money back for the Honda.

Munoz told police he agreed to pay Gonzalez back in return for the car, but then decided to go to the police to report the car stolen. Munoz admitted he knew who had taken the Acura but didn’t provide that information to the officer who took the report. He told police Gonzalez had threatened to kill him if he went to the police.

During the interview at the police station, Munoz received several calls from Gonzalez  threatening  Munoz and his family because he knew Munoz was at the station. Munoz was still at the police station when he received a call from his brother that Gonzalez was at the body shop with his friends, causing a scene. Police went to the body shop and arrested Gonzalez, charging him with larceny of a motor vehicle, extortion by threat of injury and threatening to commit a crime.

Capt. Michael Driscoll said the investigation continued and Munoz was arrested and charged with filing a false report of a motor vehicle theft, and misleading or lying to police during an investigation.

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