A Houston car salesman is recovering at home after being kidnapped, beaten and stuffed in a Dodge Charger trunk during a test drive earlier this week.
As of Tuesday night, police are searching for three suspects in the case. One who posed as a customer Monday at the Gillman Dodge dealership in the southwest part of Houston. Two other suspects joined the first one during the test drive.
22-year-old salesman Jose Martinez told Houston TV station KHOU that he noticed something was suspicious once the drive was almost over and the man just drove past the dealership. Martinez says he asked the suspect to give him the keys, but instead the man punched him. That’s when he says two other men pulled up in a second car. They beat Martinez, tied him up with tape and his own belt and put him in the Charger’s trunk.
“I asked them why they were doing it while I was in the trunk. They told me to stop asking questions,” Martinez told KHOU. “They were taping me up and I said do you want money? What do you need? Let me go you can have the car. They said ‘No, you’re coming with us.'”
Thanks to some quick thinking, Martinez escaped. He managed to pull the emergency trigger from inside the trunk and freed himself. Once out of the trunk, one suspect pointed a gun at him. Police say Martinez knocked the gun out of the suspect’s hand and then fired several shots at his captors. They got into the Charger and fled the scene.
What the suspects didn’t know is that while in the trunk, Martinez had called a friend who was tracking him on his phone. That friend flagged down help.
“One of my officers was on patrol,” said Arthur Chatman, who does private security for a neighborhood around the dealership. “He was flagged down by the victim’s friend who had apparently tracked him here to this location stating his friend was kidnapped.”
When police arrived on the scene they chased the suspects in the stolen red car. The chase ended at a church, but all three suspects were able to get away.
Martinez is expected to make a full recovery and says he plans to return to work as soon as he can.
Many of the Gillman dealerships are part of the Car Pro Radio network.