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Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | Back issues
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Ferrari Gone

VISTA, Calif. (CN) - A Michigan dentist claims a San Diego impound yard returned his stolen $120,000 Ferrari to the man who stole it, allowing the thief to drive it off a cliff.

Ron Iacobelli sued Sunny Hills Towing and Impound Yard, and California Collision, in San Diego Superior Court.

Iacobelli, a Michigan dentist, says he lives during the winter in Southern California, where he invests in multifamily buildings. In managing his properties, Iacobelli says, from time to time he needs a skilled roofer, for which he hired Daniel Hair.

Iacobelli claims that on March 10, 2010, Hair stole his Ferrari 550, a crime to which he eventually pleaded guilty. Five days after Hair stole the car, he was apprehended in a "drunken condition," and the Ferrari was impounded, according to the complaint.

Later that day or shortly thereafter, Hair showed up at defendant Sunny Hills Towing and Impound Yard and asked for the Ferrari back, Iacobelli says.

"Sunny Hills was obligated to perform certain duties before releasing the car from the impound yard," according to the complaint. "Sunny Hills had a duty to release the auto only to the tile holder or duly authorized agent with a photo I.D. Among the duties was a requirement to give the title holder notice of an impounded auto including notice of the fact, basis, and location of the impounded car. Defendants had a policy that an owner, or his agent, must appear with photo identification in order to obtain possession. Defendant Hair had no such identification. However, he attempted to remedy the situation by novel plot. He crossed the street from the Sunny Hills office where he found defendant Mathew Simms, then a teenager. Defendant Simms had his own driver's license. The name on it and the picture on it displayed the name 'Mathew Simms,' which neither appears to be, nor is it Iacobelli. Although Simms was not an agent and had no relationship to the plaintiff whatsoever, Hair presented the boy's photo I.D. picture. As a result, defendant Sunny Hills not only release the Ferrari 550 to defendant Hair; Sunny Hills loaded it on its truck and delivered the 550 to California Collision for Hair."

Neither Hair nor Simms is named as a defendant in the header of the complaint.

The bizarre complaint continues: "California Collision ultimately took 6 days to note that Hair, who had caused the delay, was not the title owner of the Ferrari. Finally, Hair arrived with a trailer onto which he loaded the 550. This resulted in California Collision releasing the Ferrari 550 to Hair, again without proof of ownership or authority.

"On arrival at California Collision, Hair first identified himself as plaintiff Iacobelli and sometime later he admitted he was not the owner. On March 22, 2010, California Collision, with full knowledge that Hair was not the owner, nevertheless released the Ferrari 550 to defendant Hair. On that date Hair loaded the car on a trailer and departed California Collision.

"Later Hair drove the Ferrari over a cliff, resulting in damage to the 550 totaling approximately $120,000."

Iacobelli seeks $28,000 for repair of the Ferrari's power train, $45,000 for body work, $25,000 in lost value to the vehicle, $18,000 for loss of use, and $4,000 in miscellaneous costs, on claims of negligent maintenance of property under bailment.

He is represented by Floyd Brown of Carlsbad.

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