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Dealership Accidentally Sells Va. Man an SUV for $5K Less Than it Costs -- Then Tells Police He Stole it and Has Him Arrested
Image source: Priority Chevrolet

Dealership Accidentally Sells Va. Man an SUV for $5K Less Than it Costs -- Then Tells Police He Stole it and Has Him Arrested

A Virginia man is suing a Chevrolet dealership after it accidentally sold him a car for $5,600 less than it cost -- and then accused him of stealing it and had him arrested, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

According to the lawsuit, Danny Sawyer, 40, purchased a black Chevrolet Traverse from Priority Chevrolet in May but returned the next morning to exchange it for a blue one. A sales manager agreed to the trade but did not say how much more the blue SUV would cost -- something the dealership disputes. Still, Sawyer signed a new contract with a sales price of about $34,000 when it should have been around $39,000.

One week later, Sawyer returned home to dozens of voice messages and a letter from the dealership. The sales manager said he made a mistake and sold the car for too little, and asked Sawyer to return and sign a new, correct contract. According to the lawsuit, Sawyer refused. When he didn't return, the dealership continued to try to contact him before finally going to the police to report the SUV had been stolen. On June 15, three police officers arrested Sawyer in front of his Chesapeake, Va. home. He was released on bond after spending four hours in jail.

Priority Chevrolet President Dennis Ellmer apologized Wednesday for Sawyer's arrest and said the dealership "definitely made a mistake" -- first with the incorrect contract and then in going to the police.

"I owe Mr. Sawyer a big apology," Ellmer told the Virginian-Pilot. "It is my plan to let him keep the $5,600 and to make Mr. Sawyer right. I can't tell you how I plan to fix it, but it is my intention to make it right."

Rebecca Colaw, Sawyer's attorney, told the newspaper her client appreciates Ellmer taking responsibility but said "an apology is not enough."

Sawyer has filed two lawsuits accusing the dealership of malicious prosecution, slander and defamation, among others, and is seeking $2.2 million in damages, plus attorney fees.

Commonwealth's Attorney Nancy Parr told the Virginian-Pilot her office dropped all charges against Sawyer due to insufficient evidence.

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