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Police: Woman paid thief $30 to steal her own car from Cincinnati auto shop

She was trying to avoid paying up for thousands she owed in repairs, court documents claim.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 10:35 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A woman allegedly paid someone to steal her car from a Cincinnati auto shop rather than forking over the full $3,500 owed for repairs.

Surveillance video shows the hired driver hit an employee with the car on their getaway.

Kitu Veal, owner of Kitu’s Auto Group, says 28-year-old Terrella Lewis brought her car in for repairs, but when it came time to pay, she didn’t have the money.

The cost was about to go up, too. Without payment, Lewis risked accumulating additional storage fees while her car languished at Veal’s shop. But Veal says he offered to help her by moving the car to his secondary location, where the car could stay while she worked things out.

“I put it on the street right here for maybe ten minutes,” Veal said standing outside his West End location. “Then I went into the side of my building. I’m walking into the building, I hear the alarm go off, like the chirp of the alarm. So I turn around and saw a guy running to get into her front seat.”

Veal says he thought the person behind the wheel was attempting to steal from the car or even steal the car itself.

“Everyone who comes to my business, I protect their car like it’s mine,” said Veal. “It would hurt my heart to know that someone’s property got taken while it was in my possession.”

But police claim in an affidavit that Lewis had given someone a key to her car and paid them $30 to steal it in order to avoid paying the repair costs.

Surveillance video shows Veal jog to the entrance and stand directly in front of the car. He says he told the person to get out, but the driver hit the accelerator—then hit Veal—and dragged him down Central Avenue.

“It was definitely an experience while on the ride,” said Veal. “Once he hit the brakes, that’s when the hard part kicked in. My back still hurts from it.”

Veal says if he had known that he would not have tried to stop the driver.

“The only reason I stood in front of this car was so he didn’t take your property and put you in a worse position, and you were the person who sent them down here the whole time,” he said.

The person who hit Veal has not yet been identified.

Lewis is currently being held at the Hamilton County Justice Center on $10,000 bail for a charge of complicity.

She will appear before a grand jury June 30.

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