A wild car salesman scheme, $1M drug bust at DTW, driver in critical condition after I-94 crash

Ricardo Perez is quite the used car salesman.  

The 38-year-old was fired last July from Dick Scott – a dealership in Plymouth. But, he kept the title and his contact list – to blindside dozens of victims.  Investigators say he posed as a salesman, preying on victims across the metro area.

And according to Lincoln Park police, he works all kinds of angles.

"Absolutely. Every angle he can cut, he’s doing it. We have at least four as of right now in Lincoln Park," said LP Police Chief Ray Watters. 

Watters says there are 30 victims – and counting.  

"Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Southgate, Taylor, Macomb County, it stretches all over the place," he said. 

Investigators say the scheme goes like this: Perez, posing as a salesman with Dick Scott – offered lease pull aheads, or to take an old ride off someone’s hands, and get them into something new. Instead of meeting at the dealership – he used being Covid safe to his advantage, meeting customers in parking lots to make the exchange.  

He would end up reselling their car – never returning it to Dick Scott. In return, he would either re-sell the customer another vehicle he’d stolen.

Or: "He would actually go to dealerships and get vehicles but put them in their names and sign all the paperwork, sign their names," Watters said.  

Then, he’d tell them – their payments are less than the actual dealership was charging.  

"What he was telling him, was that the first three months were waived - so then they wouldn’t find out until months later that they were actually behind on a payment," said Watters.   

Those late payment notices, people are receiving now, sending them in droves to local police departments, all alleged victims of Perez. "The craziest thing is that most of all, it was word of mouth - he must have been a successful salesman at some point to get people to trust him," Watters said.

Even the dealership Dick Scott was a victim - the reason Perez was fired was for fraud and theft. 

Perez was charged in Lincoln Park on Thursday, and will be shipped around to police stations all over Metro Detroit racking up charges along the way.  

"We do have some of the vehicles that we are able to return back to some people," Watters said. "We are trying our best to work with those people because they are absolutely, 100 percent, the victims."  

If you think you’re a victim – call your local police department. The agencies involved so far, are all sharing information to build cases against Perez.

Women busted with meth, cocaine at Detroit Airport

By the time Dakisha Woods, Tranece Carter, and Lakeesha Johnson got off their flight at Detroit Metro airport in Romulus, authorities were already waiting for them. While the three were planning to switch flights at Detroit on their way to Los Angeles, a canine officer got a positive hit on one of their bags. 

Inside was 65 pounds of meth and three pounds of cocaine. The vice president of public safety at the airport said it was their "largest narcotics seizure" ever. According to Tad Sturdivant, the street value of the drugs was more than a million dollars. 

"That’s not chump change in the streets, or off the streets," he said. Sturdivant says the women told officers during interrogation they thought they had marijuana in their bags, not cocaine and meth. The women, who are all related, were arrested and charged with two counts of possession with intent to distribute — felonies that can lead to a lengthy prison sentences.

Authorities are currently investigating how checked bags that are normally screened at airport security missed the massive haul. The suspect's travel plans took them through Detroit from Memphis to California. 

Traffic crash on I-94 leaves one in critical condition

A two-car crash on westbound I-94 early Friday morning has left one person in critical condition after being struck while crossing the freeway following the collision. The early-morning crash happened near Harper Avenue.

Police were dispatched around 12:15 a.m. following reports that someone had been ejected from their car. More investigation revealed that the at-fault driver fled the scene. Additionally, the second vehicle involved was blocking the center lane. 

The driver of the vehicle blocking the lane had gotten out of the car and started to cross the freeway when he was struck again. The second impact is believed to have sent the victim airborne, over the median wall, and land in the left land of eastbound I-94.

The man is now hospitalized in critical condition at a hospital. The driver that struck the pedestrian was not hurt. Both sides of the freeway were closed for investigation. The at-fault driver has still not been located. 

St. Andrew's Hall deemed unsafe after Baby Keem concert

The City of Detroit is looking to see if St. Andrew's Hall was overcapacity when the floor appeared to sway underneath a throng of concert goers earlier this week. Today, an inspector ruled the venue is unsafe and has been shut down.

Rapper Baby Keep wrapped the show early on Tuesday and is getting proper credit from the city of Detroit for stopping the show. Detroit's Chief Enforcement Officer, Jessica Parker, said Baby Keem deserves credit for putting his fans first. "I commend that rapper for stopping the concert - to say hey I want to make sure my fans are safe," Parker said.

The floor was moving underneath the crowd, which prompted the performer to end the show about 20 minutes early. The operator of Saint Andrew’s Hall told FOX 2 the floor didn’t buckle but excited fans did cause a joint in the floor to become lose.

Parker believes the venue was "past capacity." On Thursday, a third-party structural engineer inspected the historic venue to look at a number of things. The city said that inspector did a walk through and an "emergency correction order" was issued - which takes three days to correct.

Daylight Saving Time: Tips for preparing your body to spring forward this weekend

We'll lose an hour of sleep this weekend. Daylight Saving Time begins March 13. Studies have shown that there is an increase in heart attacks and strokes after the spring time change.

"We don’t really know the specific reason for increases in heart disease and stroke during the daylight saving time change, but it likely has something to do with the disruption to the body's internal clock, or its circadian rhythm," said American Heart Association President Dr. Donald M. Lloyd-Jones. "If you are already at risk for cardiovascular disease, the time change could be even more risky. It’s important to work on improving your health risk factors all year long, and there are some specific steps you can take to prepare for the impact of ‘springing forward’ each spring."

Jones, who is the chair of the department of preventive medicine, the Eileen M. Foell Professor of Heart Research, and professor of preventive medicine, medicine and pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, offered tips for preparing for the annual time change.

Check here to see what changes one should make to get ready for Sunday's leap. 

What else we're watching

  1. $400 refunds from Michigan's auto insurance the catastrophic collision association are already arriving in driver's bank accounts, after a $3 billion in expected money was supposed to move to insurers by March 9. The money will be deposited until May 9. 
  2. Two men that needed rescuing after being trapped on a melting Saginaw Bay Sunday became trapped trying to retrieve supplies they left behind. The Wednesday rescue event is the latest example of the danger of melting ice.
  3. A jury heard covertly recorded audio of suspects in the Whitmer kidnapping plot trial discussing plans to abduct the governor. Barry Croft Jr. describes possibly using explosives to "rain down" fire on law enforcement "with a team standing by" to grab Whitmer. 
  4. Officer Freddie Wilson with the Detroit public school system died after being critically injured during an altercation outside the Henry Ford campus. The incident happened in the afternoon and Wilson died Thursday evening. It's unclear what the cause of death was.
  5. The St. Patrick's Day parade is returning after a two-year hiatus. The celebration starts in Corktown on Sunday, March 13 at 1 p.m.

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Snow will be greeting drivers Friday morning as winter squeezes out another gasp of cold air and precipitation across Metro Detroit. While temperatures remain freezing in the morning, things will eventually warm into the high 30s by the afternoon.

Russia has confirmed use of weapon capable of vaporizing human bodies in attack on Ukraine

Russia has used a weapon in Ukraine capable of vaporizing human bodies and the UK Ministry of Defence says Russia has confirmed its use.

Thermobaric weapons consist of a fuel container and two separate explosive charges, with the first detonating to disperse the fuel particles and the second igniting the dispersed fuel and oxygen in the air.

It creates a blast wave of extreme pressure and heat that creates a partial vacuum in an enclosed space. That makes the weapon particularly deadly for people in an enclosed space. That can cause human bodies to vaporize.

The Pentagon has said that Russian mobile launchers for thermobaric weapons were spotted inside Ukraine, but couldn't confirm their use.

The UK MoD said its Russian counterpart said the TOS-1A weapon system had been deployed.