'Rogue' mechanic takes customer's truck for joyride

Device on truck alerts Steve Kasimow to speeding vehicle he left at shop

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A South Florida man is outraged after discovering a mechanic took his truck for a joyride.

Steve Kasimow's Toyota Tacoma was in for service at Toyota of Hollywood when he was alerted that it was speeding down Sheridan Street.

"I was at my office doing my work, and my phone gives me a text," Kasimow said.

The text was coming from a device mounted in the truck.

Kasimow installed the device so he can keep an eye on his son's driving habits. The device records the truck's every move.

A mechanic at Toyota of Hollywood didn't know that the device was on the truck.

"I looked at my phone, and it says my car was speeding at 48 mph in a 30 mph zone," Kasimow said.

Kasimow had taken the truck to the shop to have a window and ignition replaced.

"I'm saying, how can my car be speeding if it's at the dealership?" he said.

So Kasimow opened the app that tracks the truck.

"My car was going down (U.S. Highway) 441, eastbound on Sheridan and through a Wendy's drive-thru," he said.

Kasimow said the mechanic had taken his truck off the property to lunch.

"He is driving my car," Kasimow said. "He could have wrecked the car or something like that. He could have run a red light and hit another car."

Kasimow said he called the dealership to report the incident.

Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier contacted Toyota of Hollywood. In an email, general manager Steve Ostrov called the incident the actions of a "rogue employee."

"I would like to thank Mr. Kasimow for bringing the incident to our attention," Ostrov said.

Ostrov said mechanics are not allowed to use customer vehicles for any personal reasons.

"He took the vehicle without the knowledge of our management," Ostrov said.

Toyota of Hollywood has policies in place that forbid an employee from driving a customer vehicle for personal business of any kind. The policy also forbids smoking or eating in any customer vehicle.

"I am disappointed to hear that this occurred and can assure you that it resulted from the actions of a rogue employee, against dealership written policy and procedure," Ostrov added.

"Had I not had the device on my truck, I never would have known," Kasimow said. "That is the most troubling part."

Local 10 News had learned the employee was terminated.

While some services require a test drive, this one didn't. Experts tell Local 10 News to note the mileage on a vehicle that is dropped off for service. The mileage should also be noted on any paperwork. Vehicle owners can also reset the trip counters before each visit.