A bizarre car theft saga played out in an auto repair shop in Bainbridge Island, WA last week, when a woman allegedly took another person’s car from a local auto repair shop and tried to pay the bill for its repairs with counterfeit money.
Oddly, that’s the most normal thing about the case.
According to employees at the shop on Olympic Drive, Cristina Javon Chavez, 38, walked into the lobby on Wednesday and took a pair of car keys from the counter.
An employee stopped her when she tried to leave, at which point she claimed she was picking up a car for the owner, a 25-year-old Bainbridge Island woman. When Chavez claimed the owner of the 1998 Nissan Maxima was her daughter, the employee pointed out that she didn’t look old enough to be the owner’s mother.
Allegedly, Chavez then tried to pay the repair bill with photocopied $20 bills. The employee quickly saw through the fake bills, which had even been printed with light pink ink on one side. When he questioned their legitimacy, Chavez said they were traveler’s checks.
The employee then suggested that Chavez exchange the traveler’s checks for cash, so she took the keys and the car with the promise that she’d go to the bank and be right back. A witness who saw her on Highway 305 said it was obvious that she didn’t know how to drive a stick shift.
After the woman left, employees called the police. The police contacted the actual owner of the car, who said no one had permission to take the vehicle.
Fortunately, Chavez spared them a lengthy chase. She returned to the same repair shop only a few hours later — to use the restroom.
Police were called in and interrogated Chavez, who gave conflicting answers about the owner of the car and called herself Tezra Ariha Ashkelon before refusing to speak further. Later police found that she had seven aliases, and booked her into the Kitsap County Jail on Friday morning as “Jane Doe.”
Authorities found the stolen car in a parking lot near the repair shop, along with Chavez’s leopard-print purse, which contained a Walkman, a piece of asphalt, and other items.
Chavez is charged with second-degree burglary and first-degree theft. Bail for the burglary charge was set at $10,000.