DANIA BEACH, Fla. – A South Florida man got the motor running on his new motorcycle and was all set to head out on the highway, but there's one big problem.
Ruben Mendez recently purchased a Honda Magna V-30 motorcycle that has just 14,000 miles on it.
"I've changed all the hoses on it, gave her a tune up, put a fairing, some extra spot lights and a couple of trunks in there," he said. "All I need right now is some tires and a tag to get her on the road, and she's ready to go."
Mendez told Local 10's Leave it to Layron team that he spotted the motorcycle at a neighbor's house and that neighbor eventually agreed to sell it to him.
Mendez said he began making monthly $50 payments on the motorcycle on Jan. 14, 2017, until the bike was paid for to the sum of $1,000, which was agreed upon by him and the seller.
"Every time I paid, I signed. He received, he signed," Mendez said.
Mendez took possession of the bike and said the seller moved out of the neighborhood, although he would still come by to receive payments.
Mendez said he took a motorcycle endorsement class and kept making his payments until last September when the final payment was due.
"My payment, my title, goodbye and we're done," he said.
But when it was time to hand over the title, Mendez said the seller ghosted him.
"No call, no show. The last address I went to, he doesn't live there," Mendez said. "No emails, no voicemails, no texts -- no anything."
Mendez said he has gone to numerous places to find out how he can aquire a tag for the motorcycle but has turned up empty-handed.
"Nobody could give me answers," he said. "In fact, I went to a tag agency on Sheridan Street, and I explained to the man what was going on with me, and he just looked at me boldly and said, 'Well, I guess you have a bike you can't ride.' So that's when I got fed up and said, 'I got to make a phone call,' and you're the phone call."
It's a good thing Mendez did keep his detailed ledger and contract.
The LITL team contacted the county tax collector's office, which said the ledger, the receipts, the signatures, the title and VIN could all be presented to a clerk of court.
A court order could then be issued, granting Mendez ownership of the bike. All he'd have to do from there is present that order to the DMV to get his title and tags.
"(I) just want to ride the bike, pop wheelies, cause all kinds of Hades and be free like a bird," Mendez said. "That's all I want to do, is just ride."