Cops: Pelham car dealership victimized in string of thefts

Published 11:34 am Thursday, April 2, 2015

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

PELHAM – An Elmore County couple is facing additional charges in a string of thefts by deception after they allegedly illegally obtained a vehicle from a Pelham car dealership.

Connie and Claton Reeves, who list an address on Elmore Road in Elmore, were arrested by the Pelham Police Department in early March and charged with one felony count of theft by deception apiece.

According to their arrest warrants, the Reeves couple allegedly illegally obtained a 2007 GMC Yukon sport utility vehicle valued at $15,500 from Highway 31 Auto Sales in Pelham on Sept. 6, 2014.

The two suspects were released from the Shelby County Jail the same day they were arrested after posting $30,000 bonds apiece. Theft by deception is a Class B felony, and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison upon conviction.

The Reeves couple operated Quality Used Cars in Elmore before the dealership was shut down by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange in late February.

In his lawsuit, Strange alleged Quality Used Cars “has a consistent practice of entering into deals and failing to fulfill its end of the bargain. Quality has accepted vehicle trade-ins under the condition of paying off existing liens but then failed to do so. And it has then sold these very vehicles to other customers without disclosing the liens attached to them, while charging but not remitting State sales taxes.  Quality has acquired other vehicles via false pretenses and bad checks, which has led to credit unions, banks, and other car dealers losing tens of thousands. Finally, Quality has failed to obtain, let lapse, or had revoked such quality standards as a surety bond, a State business license, and from the Department of Revenue, its Dealer License and Designated Agent status. Thus, any deal Quality makes is corroded from the start.”

In civil complaints filed with the lawsuit, Strange outlined several instances of allegedly fraudulent transactions.

In one of the cases, Connie Reeves allegedly illegally obtained a vehicle from an Alabaster car dealership. While purchasing the vehicle, Reeves claimed she had a regulatory license and an Alabama sales tax license and left the dealership with a vehicle and its title.

The $16,200 check, and a second check she later wrote for the vehicle, later bounced. “At this time, they have not yet paid for the vehicle,” read Strange’s complaint.