Police still searching for "pro" car thief
UPDATE 11.20AM: POLICE are still on the look out for the black 2012 Holden Commodore that was stolen from Gracemere on Wednesday.
Authorities confirmed investigations into the theft were still continuing.
YESTERDAY: IN HINDSIGHT Michael Shields could have seen he was being fooled by a professional con artist in the moments leading up to his car being stolen and being left stranded on the side of the highway.
But at the time the Gracemere man was just happy he was about to sell his 2012 black Holden Commodore just days after he'd advertised it for sale and that it was one less thing he had to worry about as him and his wife prepared to pack up their life and return home to New Zealand in a week's time.
Michael, 50, met with a man aged in his mid to late 30s on Wednesday around 6pm outside his Gracemere home after the man had enquired about Michael's car.
"My wife and I are moving back to New Zealand soon," Michale said.
"And due to a variety of circumstances I ended up with very little time to sell the car so I put a competitive price on it to try and get rid of it as soon as possible," he added.
"I just thought if I didn't sell it I'd get it shipped home, I'd even booked a shipping container as a back up.
"Then this man called me about three times Wednesday and wanted to check out the car.
"He seemed very keen to see it that afternoon as he told me he was heading back to the mines for a couple of weeks.
"He turned up on foot which I thought was odd and when I commented on it he spun me a story about having an argument with his wife and how she had dropped him off up the road.
"I thought to myself at the time it was a bit suspicious so from then on I was careful on leaving him alone with the keys or the car."
A few minutes after the man turned up to inspect the car he asked to take it for a test drive. Michael said he was extra careful to not let him have the keys until he was sitting in the passenger seat.
"I was making sure I was in the passenger seat first before I handed over the keys and I kept thinking to myself to always make sure I was the last one out of the car," he said.
"We went for a test drive down Burnett Hwy and pulled up on the side of Gavial-Gracemere Rd where he said he'd buy the car off me.
"We both got out of the car to discuss payment and he said he wanted to drive the car back to my house but before I could get to the passenger side door he'd jumped in and sped off.
"I realised what he was doing so I grabbed the door handle but realised I had to let go otherwise I would have been dragged along with the car. I was just left standing there stranded on the highway. I called the police and they took me back to the station to make a statement."
The police have still not been able to locate Michael's car and investigations are continuing into the incident but Michael is hoping other people learn from his experience.
"I'm still very upset with myself because this happened even though I was trying to be really careful," he said.
"The police think he was a professional who knew what he was doing and had always had a plan and now in hindsight I can see how he manipulated the conversation. I was always planning to take a photo of his licence even before he took off but it just slipped my mind."
If you know anything about this incident contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.