Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – Centralized Auto Theft Section have charged Nicholas Ryan Metz, age 33, of the 8800 block of Willowwood Way in Jessup, with vehicle theft, forgery, and other related offenses after Metz purchased three motor vehicles with counterfeit cashier’s checks and sold the stolen vehicles to unsuspecting buyers. Investigators are concerned that there may be additional victims related to this scheme.
The investigation by detectives determined the following:
- On August 11, 2016, an adult female victim contacted MCP to report the theft of two vehicles, a 2008 Mercury Mariner and a 2000 Ford Explorer. The victim explained to detectives that she advertised both vehicles for sale on various websites and social media applications. Metz contacted her through the social media app “5miles” and agreed to purchase both vehicles. The victim met with Metz on August 11 in Wheaton to complete the sale of both vehicles. Metz gave the victim a cashier’s check (ultimately determined to be fraudulent) and the victim gave him the keys and titles to both vehicles. Later that day, the victim took the cashier’s check to a local branch of the bank and was told that the cashier’s check was fraudulent. The victim called Metz and told him that the cashier’s check was fraudulent. Metz agreed to meet with the victim at a restaurant in Baltimore and give her cash but Metz never showed. Both vehicles have been recovered unoccupied.
- On December 20, 2016, an adult male victim contacted MCP to report the theft of his vehicle, a 2016 Toyota Corolla. The victim stated that he advertised the Corolla for sale on Craigslist and was contacted by Metz. Metz agreed to purchase the car and the victim and Metz met at a park in Burtonsville to complete the sale. Metz gave the victim a cashier’s check (through investigation determined to be fraudulent). The victim told Metz that he was calling the bank to ensure that the cashier’s check was valid. Metz asked the victim if he could test drive the vehicle and the victim agreed. Metz then drove the Corolla out of the park while two vehicles that had accompanied Metz into the park blocked the park’s exit, preventing the victim from following Metz. Detectives determined that Metz had sold the Corolla to an Anne Arundel County resident. Officers from the Anne Arundel County Police Department recovered the stolen Corolla and obtained an arrest warrant for Metz charging him with theft: $1,000 to under $10,000.
On February 3, MCP Central Auto Theft detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Metz charging him with three counts of the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, forgery, and other related offenses. Metz is currently being held at the Howard County Department of Corrections in Jessup for similar crimes.
Detectives urge anyone who has information related to Nicholas Metz’s scheme or believe that they may have been the victim of a fraudulent sale of a motor vehicle by Metz, to contact the Central Auto Theft Unit at 240-773-6370.
The Montgomery County Police Department offers the following tips for buyers and sellers who engage in private party sales of vehicles:
- Ask the buyer or seller to meet you at a local police station for the initial test drive.
- Do not allow a potential buyer to test drive the vehicle with the title in their possession.
- Ask for the seller/buyer’s driver’s license and take a picture of it.
- Buyers should ask to inspect the registration and title for the vehicle. Ensure that the name on both documents is the seller’s name and that there are no current lien holders on the title.
- Accompany the buyer to their bank and have the buyer obtain a cashier’s check in your presence. Buyers and sellers can conduct the final sale of the vehicle, sign all paperwork (to include the bill of sale and title transfer) while inside of the bank.
- Walk away from a sale if either party is trying to rush the transaction.