A Chattanooga man is facing felony theft charges after he stole a $60,000 vehicle.
On Thursday, officers were notified that a stolen vehicle had been located at the Circle K gas station on Hixson Pike. It was unattended when police arrived, with six people inside the gas station. Casey Skudlarek, 28, of 3608 Mission View Ave., was one of those inside. Rather than go back to the vehicle, he began walking away instead.
When none of the other customers claimed the vehicle as theirs, police stopped Skudlarek and asked why he was walking. He said the gas station was “frequented by foot traffic.” Because police had no evidence he was the thief, they let him go.
When police searched the vehicle, they found a cell phone, which when “lit up” displayed a phone number and “Casey Skudlarek.” After this, the officer began driving in the direction of Skudlarek and found him in the parking lot of a liquor store.
After he was arrested and was being transported to 4849 Hixson Pike, another officer told the driving officer he had viewed surveillance footage of Skudlkarek exiting the vehicle at the Circle K.
The victim arrived at the gas station and picked up the vehicle. The victim said three car seats were missing, and the original car key was gone. Skudlarek was then taken to the Hamilton County Jail. He said he had driven the vehicle unauthorized, but that he “disputed stealing it on the basis that he did not hold a gun to the owner’s head before taking it.”
Skudlarek was charged with theft of property over $60,000.