In another age, loaning your car to complete strangers and telling them to just bring it back the next day would have had a happy ending. Doing it recently at the Hooters restaurant in Fairfax City? Not so much.
A 46-year-old Burke man reported to police that he was inside the Hooters on Route 50 on a Saturday evening last month when a couple came in and asked him for directions. The couple further revealed the heartbreaking development that they were on their way to a wedding when their vehicle broke down, Fairfax City Sgt. Joe Johnson said.
Apparently deeply moved, the Hooters patron “advised them they could use his car,” a gray 2000 BMW 740iL, Johnson said. He also “told the unknown subjects to return the car to the parking lot the next day and give the keys to the employees” at Hooters, where he was apparently well known, Johnson said.
After leaving with the car, the couple actually returned later when they were unable to figure out how to open the gas tank, Johnson said. The Hooters patron helpfully showed them. And then off they went to the “wedding.”
And that’s the last our Hooters patron saw of his BMW.
When the good samaritan returned to Hooters the next day and found that his car had not been returned, he told police that he checked at other area Hooters restaurants, in case it had turned up there. After eight days and no BMW, he flagged down a Fairfax City officer and reported the sad tale.
And here’s the even sadder part: He had left a yellow engagement ring in the car, Johnson said, as well as a laptop computer, DVDs, and clothing. No value was available for the ring. The BMW 740iL originally retailed for at least $62,000, but the car’s Blue Book value now is estimated at about $8,000.
The suspects were described as a white male with curly brown hair, about 5 feet 10, average build, and a white female with long brown hair, about 5 feet 5, average build. That narrows it down to about 40 million people.
Johnson said he was not familiar with any prior use of the “we-need-to-get-to-a-wedding-can-we-have-your-car scam” before. “I’ve heard of people using a scam to get money,” Johnson said. “But no one’s ever said, ‘Here’s my car, take it.’ That’s a wild one.”
NOTE: The Hooters patron reported his car stolen on June 17, but due to other obligations, I was unable to post this story until now. However, Sgt. Johnson advises that the BMW and the suspects remain at large. If you have any information about the case, call the Fairfax City police at 703-385-7924 or Crime Solvers at 703-591-9477.