Car dealer offers $1,000 and maybe a vehicle to person who kills thief, Indiana cops say

A car dealership owner in Indiana didn’t think cops would ever catch the person he suspected of stealing vehicles from his business.

So, he hired someone to kill the alleged thief, police said.

In early September, Serhan Ezeldine reported to South Bend police that several vehicles had been stolen from his dealership, according to a probable cause affidavit. Losing hope that anyone would be arrested, Ezeldine is accused of asking a person to kill the suspect for $1,000 and “possibly an automobile,” according to the affidavit.

However, the person he attempted to hire was a confidential source who’d worked with cops on “numerous” occasions, police said.

The informant told cops of the murder-for-hire plot, and they started an undercover investigation of Ezeldine, according to the affidavit.

Under the direction of investigators, the confidential source called Ezeldine to set up a meeting about the killing — and detectives listened in on the recorded conversation, police said. Then investigators equipped the informant with video and audio recording devices and went with the source to the dealership, police said.

In the meeting with Ezeldine, the informant again asked if he wanted to follow through because it would be “permanent,” according to the affidavit.

“I know. I know,” Ezeldine said in the video recording, according to police.

Ezeldine gave the informant the intended target’s name and spelled it out, provided a description of the person’s vehicle and home address, and showed what appeared to be a picture of the person on Facebook, police said.

Ezeldine suggested the informant make the murder look like an armed robbery, police said. He preferred the victim’s throat be cut, police said.

Ezeldine was arrested Monday, St. Joseph County prosecutors said in a news release. He was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, prosecutors said.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.