Same man steals from 2 East Bay luxury car dealerships using fake ID

A luxury car dealership in the East Bay has a warning for other businesses about a thief who has struck at least twice in Dublin and Walnut Creek just days apart. 

Matt Saatchi, sales manager at Autobahn Gallery in Dublin, said the thief used a fake ID to purchase a white BMW. 

He shared surveillance video that shows a man in black getting into the car.

"This guy came in here, gave us fake information as a different person, and took one of our cars," Saatchi said. "The banks approved it. It was good.  Everything checked out."

But Saatchi said the man was approved for a loan using a fake identification. He came into the dealership to fraudulently buy the car June 13. The suspect has been identified as Philip Cedric Espina of Hayward. 

Saatchi said he later learned that the 24-year-old  is also accused of fraudulently buying  a black BMW from  a Walnut Creek dealership in the same way just days earlier.  

"I don't want this to happen to anybody else.  It's not okay," Saatchi said.

He said that surveillance video showed the suspect arriving  at his dealership in the same black BMW that he was accused of taking from Walnut Creek.

KTVU has also learned that two days later, Espina crashed the black BMW in Oakland and was arrested.

"They did a photo lineup and I identified him right away," said Saatchi. . 

But the Alameda County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Espina bailed out the same day he was arrested.  

The Walnut Creek dealership owner told KTVU when  he got his black BMW back , he found  15 credit car machines and a weapon in the trunk.  

Saatchi questioned why the suspect was released from jail since Alameda County court records show that Espina has 3 other  outstanding court cases pending against him involving weapons, stolen vehicles and other charges.  

"We're pretty frustrated over $100,000 worth of cars over three days from two dealerhsips.  This is grand theft and the guy is out and about," said Saatchi.  

For the white BMW he's suspected of stealing from the Dublin dealership,  police said Espina faces identity theft, fraud and stolen vehicle charges. 

Amber Lee is a reporter with ktvu. email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. follow her on facebook @AmberKTVU,   instagram @AmberKTVU  or twitter @AmberKTVU