KOSCIUSKO — An Iowa man is facing charges after taking a vehicle for a test drive and never returning.
Darwin La Nele Johnson, 42, 524 S. Clark St., Davenport, Iowa, was charged with auto theft, a level 6 felony.
On Aug. 16, 2017, a male and female reported the theft of their 2011 Ford Fusion to Indiana State Police. They stated they had purchased a new vehicle on May 23, 2017, from Best Chevrolet/Buick, located in Bremen. Best Chevrolet/Buick did not want their vehicle as trade-in, so the dealership suggested that they contact a traveling car salesman by the name of Darwin J., later identified as Darwin La Nele Johnson, as he might purchase their Ford Fusion.
On May 23, the female met with Johnson at a Walmart. She provided Johnson with the keys to the vehicle, at which time he took the vehicle for a test drive and never returned. The male and female provided police with two contact numbers for Johnson. Both numbers were out of service.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, police conducted a Facebook search and located a D.J. Johnson, also identified on Facebook as “The Car Man,” who resides in Davenport, Iowa. An ISP detective informed officers that he was working another case involving Best Chevrolet/Buick and Johnson. The detective stated that Johnson is an independent contractor who sells cars for Car Professional Management, and that during the month of May, Johnson was at a sale that Best Chevrolet/Buick held at a Walmart parking lot.
The male and female received a citation by way of mail from the Davenport Police Department in regards to their Ford Fusion being caught speeding by a traffic camera. When the male and female contacted the Davenport Police Department, they were informed that another citation was being mailed to them for a speeding violation. The male and female had not been to Davenport.
Johnson’s driving privileges are currently suspended and he is currently wanted for larceny in Illinois. On Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, police conducted a photo lineup using six photos. Both the male and female selected photo number two, which was Johnson, as the person who stole their Ford Fusion.
Johnson was booked at the Kosciusko County Jail Tuesday, June 5, on a $5,250 surety and cash bond.