Janesville “test drive” theft tip of the iceberg for suspect, police say

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JANESVILE (WKOW) — Police in Janesville are looking for the woman who they say took a car on a test drive without intending to return it — and they say this is far from her first run-in with the law.

Mike Hubbard, owner of The Auto Hubb, says a woman filled out an online application to buy a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

She wrote that her grandfather needed to cosign and that she wanted to drive the SUV and the paperwork to him.

“Very often we go with them on the test drive,” Hubbard said. “But as you can see, we’re a small dealership, but we sell a lot of cars, so sometimes we don’t have the personnel to go with.”

Hubbs called whom he thought was her grandfather, and the man on the other end said everything was legit.

But he say when the woman arrived Monday, she came with another man, and an ID that looked questionable.

“She stood in my office, ‘Oh, I’m so happy. I’ve been looking for this exact car, I’m so excited!'” Hubbard recalled. “Lying through her teeth.”

Hubbard was concerned, so he put a GPS tracker in the Jeep — which he says he told her about. He watched her drive off, and then tracked her somewhere that wasn’t in the direction of her “grandfather.”

Hubbard decided to see what they were up to, and when he got there they said they had stopped for dinner. Still spooked, Hubbard asked the man leave his car and keys back at the dealership. He said they obliged, and then took off again.

But Hubbard felt something still wasn’t right, so he contacted the police department where her “grandfather” lived.

“‘What’s the girls name?'” he recalls the dispatcher asking him “I said, ‘Kenya Williams.’ He said, ‘They have nothing to do with him. It’s fraud.'”

Police believe she’s actually Samantha Sliger and that her “grandfather” was a victim of fraud — someone she tricked into thinking everything was okay.

“She has eight warrants out for her arrest between Iowa and Illinois,” said Janesville Police Lieutenant Mike Blaser.

Hubbard was tracking the Jeep, and so were police. They lost the Jeep in traffic, but eventually found it abandoned in rural Rock County near a wooded area.

Police deployed dogs and drones to track down the two suspects.

“We very quickly got the male subject into custody,” Lt. Blaser said. “He was just in the woods a little bit. The female was down a different track than where we initiated, and she managed to get into some thick brush and managed to get away from us.”

Lt. Blaser said they’re still investigating where she went, but he says a pickup truck was reported around the time of her disappearance from near where they found the Jeep — which was near Sunny Lane and Highway 51 in Rock County.

Police are asking that if you see Sliger you should call the Rock County Communications Center at 608-757-2244.

Andrew Merica

Andrew Merica

Reporter/Producer, 27 News

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