TOOELE, UT…Three auto executives with Tooele County ties were taken into custody in connection with the theft of 81 vehicles from a Scottsbluff, Neb., dealership they were running together.
Legacy Auto Sales owner Allen Patch, controller Rachel Fait, and general manager Rick Covello allegedly arranged to have the vehicles — identified as Fords and Toyotas — transported by truck to be sold at auctions in a number of western states including Utah. An investigation was launched Monday when employees at the dealership showed up for work and noticed an empty lot. Investigators reported that the trio’s desks had been cleaned out and their homes vacated.
The Scottsbluff County Attorney’s Office issued warrants to bring the threesome in for questioning, estimating the value of the missing cars at $2.5 million.
Patch, a former Tooele resident, is the previous owner of Quality Automotive in Tooele. Fait and Covello are part-time Tooele residents who worked for Patch at Quality and have remained business associates.
Patch turned himself in to Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division authorities this morning, according to Charlie Roberts, public information officer with MVED. “He was arrested on the outstanding warrant and transported to the Tooele County Jail,” Roberts said.
Fait was taken into custody by the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday evening at a family home in Tooele and booked into the Tooele County Jail, according to Sheriff Frank Park. Covello turned himself in earlier Wednesday in Nebraska.
The investigation into the case is ongoing. Roberts said his department recovered 18 vehicles from Bargain Buggies in Erda at around 11:30 a.m. today, with others popping up at dealerships in the Salt Lake Valley.
Har! I’ll bet those buggies were bargains.