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Car salesman faces theft charge
Suspect allegedly sold vehicles to wholesaler, pocketed cash
Car Shopping 1 es
Chris Edwards, left, buys a car from Andean Chevrolet salesman David Wilson on Dec. 3 during a red tag event. In the foreground is a 2009 Corvette convertible. Most car dealerships are running end-of-year promotions. - photo by Emily Saunders
Authorities say additional charges could be filed against a car salesman who allegedly pocketed money from illegal sales of vehicles at the Ford dealership where he worked.
Randy Blackwell, 45, of Canton was arrested May 31 by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office and charged with four counts of theft by taking.
According to jail records, Blackwell was released the same day from the Forsyth County Detention Center on $50,140 bond.
Capt. Paul Taylor, commander of the sheriff's office criminal investigations division, said Blackwell stole four used vehicles and sold them to a wholesaler without the dealership knowing about it.
The cars were taken from Billy Howell Ford on Hwy. 9.
Taylor said the department was looking into the possibility that two other people may have been victimized in other incidents involving Blackwell, but that's "still under investigation."
"We're looking at a total loss right now of about $15,000 to the dealership," Taylor said.
He said Blackwell used false documents in the transactions and kept the money. He said two of the four vehicles have been recovered.
Taylor said the dealership has been "very helpful to us."
"They reported it and have been helpful in the investigation," he said.
Bill Howell, president of Billy Howell Ford, said Blackwell was questioned after inconsistencies were found in the dealership's monthly inventory.
Howell said Blackwell admitted to the thefts and the dealership notified authorities immediately afterward. Blackwell no longer works at the dealership.
"It's unfortunate, but that's why we check things," Howell said. "We do inventories regularly and make sure the paperwork matches up."
Howell said this is the first incident of an employee accused of stealing vehicles from the dealership in its 32 years of business.
Sheriff's Investigator Nick Drosakis said the thefts date back to April and that, so far, nothing else in the dealership's records indicates that any other employees were involved.