Police Nab Suspected Car Thief after Traffic Stop
Investigation leads to arrest of Philadelphia man.
Whitemarsh Police arrested a Philadelphia man Sunday, after an investigation led them to believe he stole a black Audi A8 from a car dealership in Willow Grove. It is the second arrest for suspected vehicle theft in as many weeks for the department.
Jermere Johnson, 23, of the 8200 block of Michener Avenue, Philadelphia, has been charged with felony theft and receiving stolen property in connection with the incident, along with misdemeanor charges for unauthorized use of a vehicle and providing false identification.
Police say Johnson was driving the vehicle on Flourtown Road at about 10 p.m. on Sunday, when an officer routinely ran his plates. When the plate came back as being registered to a black Mercury from Ottsville, Pa., police initiated a traffic stop.
Police say Johnson originally identified himself as "Tyree Gibbons," and provided a date of birth and social security number, which they found to be false after running it through their computer systems. Johnson then told police he gave them a friend's information, due to having a suspended license, and provided his real ID card, a report said.
According to police, Johnson then said that he had purchased the vehicle from Craigslist, paid $10,000 to a man named "Steve," and picked the vehicle up in Bryn Mawr that night. However, Johnson couldn't produce ownership papers for the vehicle, and said the plates belonged to his sister's vehicle, which was parked at home.
Police began investigating Johnson's story, and contacted the owner of the vehicle registered to the plates. She told police that the car had been towed away after it broke down several years ago, and that she hadn't seen the plates since. Police also ran the VIN number for the Audi, and it came back as being previously owned by a Haverford man. Upon contacting that individual, the man told police he had traded the car into an Audi dealership in Willow Grove.
Police spoke with the dealership's general manager, who confirmed that the vehicle should be on their lot. In addition, the keys in the Audi still had a dealer tag attached to them, police said.
Police then took Johnson into custody. Court records show he is currently confined to Montgomery County prison in lieu of $25,000 bail and is next scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 29 before district justice Deborah Lukens.