HomeTop StoriesA Chicago area man was arrested at gunpoint over a car paperwork...

A Chicago area man was arrested at gunpoint over a car paperwork error

GURNEE, Ill. (CBS) – He was stopped at gunpoint, handcuffed and detained, all because of a mistake with his car papers.

What started as a typical Tuesday morning changed with a flash of light by Gurnee police. The driver who was stopped immediately complied.

Another officer stopped and more reinforcements arrived.

One of the officers yelled, “Get out of the vehicle and keep your hands up.” Turn your face away from me.”

Caglar Ozata continued to comply. But he was confused, especially since the orders came from officers with guns drawn.

“I’m not drunk. I’m not doing anything wrong,” Ozata said later, recalling the experience.

But even more weapons turned up when investigators searched Ozata’s car after he got out. Gurnee police said the level of response was necessary for what they considered a “high risk traffic stop” at the time.

Officer: “The vehicle has been reported stolen.”

Ozata: “Oh my God.”

Ozata heard the problem while he was being handcuffed. Nothing made sense to him.

“I bought this car on September 26, 2023, and after that I paid the full price,” he said in an interview.

Officer: “Is this the registered owner? It is. Okay. Step outside. We’ll take your handcuffs off.”

Ozata: “That wasn’t necessary. Unnecessary.”

His frustrations were far from over.

Ozata was still taken to Gurnee Police Station due to an issue with his title. The driver was put in a cell prior to the interrogation. It was all something he feared would happen because he never received any proof of ownership proving he actually owned the car.

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“I was constantly visiting the secretary of state asking for my title,” Ozata said. “They said, wait, it’s processing, processing.”

The Secretary of State said title processing is done on paper and sent via regular mail, which often takes four to six weeks after a vehicle is purchased before the important document is received. The agency said it hopes to shorten the wait by implementing Electronic Lien Titling (ELT), which would require the dealer to communicate directly with the bond with electronic and non-paper signatures and various points of verification. The office believes this could have prevented Ozata’s situation and fraud, reduced errors and cut title processing time from weeks to minutes. The new system is expected to come into effect this summer.

He showed CBS 2 the receipts, registration and repair bills he carried everywhere with him in case he was pulled over.

“The police say, ‘Oh these days any paperwork can be copied, or fake copied,’” Ozata said.

It turned out that something was fake. Illinois Secretary of State Police said they received a suspicious-looking lien release as part of a title application for Ozata’s vehicle.

An undercover state investigator sent to the police station explained: “The way the documents are submitted to us looks like fraud.”

The suspicious-looking paperwork came from Toyota of Fox Lake, where Ozata bought his car. Senior dealers told CBS 2 they discovered an employee had made an “inadvertent clerical error” and “attempted to correct her error,” but that she “was not authorized to send the letter in the form she did.” The employee who made the mistake no longer works at the dealership, they said.

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The State Police Secretary even arrested the dealer administrator on two offenses related to the case. Investigators said her “mistake” caused the dramatic traffic stop.

Ozata asked the police, “What did I do wrong?”

The Secretary of State’s police officer replied, “It appears you have done nothing wrong.”

Ozata was released without any charges. The immigrant from Turkey said he is now afraid to drive a car.

“I came here for more civil rights, for democracy,” he said. “But I’m just shocked.”

Ozata finally received his real title a few days ago. For those wondering, you don’t have to carry the title in the car. The problem during his traffic stop was that the car was reported stolen.

The State Police Secretary said they have never come across such a case before.

The dealer said in a statement:

“The situation here arises from an inadvertent clerical error. When Mr. Ozata purchased a used vehicle from Fox Lake Toyota, he paid for the vehicle in full. However, one of our title clerks incorrectly placed a lien on the vehicle with Toyota Financial Services (” TFS”), a lender we often use to arrange financing for our clients. There was no malicious intent in placing the lien, just an employee who acted too quickly.

When the error was realized, the same clerk attempted to correct her error by sending a letter to the Illinois Secretary of State requesting that the lien be removed so that a duplicate title could be issued to Mr. Ozata. Our clerk was only trying to expedite the title error, but she should have done this differently and was not authorized to send the letter in the form she did.

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Although we have no first-hand knowledge of the incident in which Mr. Ozata was pulled over in Gurnee, Illinois, Mr. Ozata told us that when he was pulled over, he had all of the original paperwork relating to his purchase of the vehicle. in the glove compartment and that he showed the paperwork to the police officers. We cannot comment on the actions of the Gurnee Police Department other than to say that we had no control over their decision making.

We have contacted Mr. Ozata, offered him our sincerest apologies, informed him that the employee who made the mistake is no longer with the dealership, and offered to provide him with a vehicle to drive while we secure proper title in his name. included without a lien. Our dealership prides itself on treating all of its customers with respect and we do our utmost to promptly address any complaint brought to our attention.”

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