Reporting Andrea Menniti
MANTECA (CBS13) — A disabled man hoping to sell a car to help put presents under the Christmas tree instead was the victim of a car theft, according to Manteca police.
Fernando Guttierez, 30, who is confined to a wheelchair after a roofing accident several years ago, listed a 1997 Honda Civic for sale on craigslist. A man and a woman responded to the advertisement on Tuesday, looked the car over and then asked to take it for a test drive. They never returned.
“We don’t have money to give presents for the kids or all the family,” Guttierez said.
The Manteca Police Department took a report of a stolen vehicle in the 1000 block of Ridgecrest at about 4 p.m.
“You feel like what are you going to do when somebody is trying to take advantage of you?” Guttierez told CBS13′s Andrea Menniti. “It feels like you can’t trust anybody.”
Guttierez’s sister-in-law Nancy Cabrera was helping him try to sell the car. “They said, ‘We’re just going to go around the block and well be back really fast,” she said.
After waiting about 20 minutes, the family realized they’d been duped.
“That’s a really bad thing to do to someone who is disabled, who can’t do anything about it,” Cabrera said. “Obviously, he’s not going to run after them, there’s nothing he can do.”
The two suspects are described as white adult male and black adult female, both in their late 20s to early 30s. The man has a large tattoo on the right side of his neck.
The car is a 1997 green Honda Civic two-door coupe with license No. 5ZBP547.
South County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspects and the return of the car. Callers can call (209) 823-4636 and remain anonymous.
“We could have bought presents for the whole family, especially the kids,” Cabrera said. “They’re the ones who really enjoy Christmas.”