A man who police say went on a high-end crime spree Thursday afternoon wasn't hard to spot. As police noted, how many people in Salt Lake are driving around in a 2001 burgundy Ferrari 550 Maranello?
The brazen thief began his spree by stealing the $130,000 car right off the lot of Steve Harris Imports, 800 S. Main. Employees were moving cars from the garage to be taken to the Salt Palace for a show. Two cars, still partially in the garage, were left idling briefly. The other Ferrari left idling was a $300,000 car.
Employees spotted the Maranello just as the man was slowly rolling toward the gate entrance. He then quickly took off down the street. It was the first time a car had ever been stolen from the business, employees said.
Very little gasoline is kept in the vehicles, according to employees, so they assumed the thief wouldn't get far. Furthermore, the vehicle was the only one of its kind in Salt Lake, according to employees, and very recognizable.
Sure enough, about 90 minutes later, a Salt Lake police officer driving back from a rifle training course spotted the car and then heard dispatchers put out a notice to all officers to be on the lookout for it. The officer knew immediately it was the stolen vehicle and pulled it over near 600 East and 400 South.
During the time the car was missing, investigators learned the thief made a stop at Paul Thomas Jewelers, near 50 W. 200 South, and stole a diamond ring worth about $1,900, said Salt Lake Police Sgt. Robin Snyder. He then took the ring to Midtown Pawn, near 1100 S. State, just two blocks away from Steve Harris Imports, and sold the diamond ring, she said.
Ironically, just 10 minutes before the man arrived at the pawn shop, police were in the store telling an employee to be on the lookout for a stolen Ferrari. When the employee saw the Ferrari parked out front, he called police as soon as the man left.
Steve Syme, 50, was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of auto theft, a second-degree felony, third-degree felony theft in connection with the diamond ring, theft by deception and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The stolen Ferrari suffered only minor damage. The car was driven with the emergency brake on the entire time, according to the dealership. They also believe the engine was not shut off because the car has an alarm that goes off unless certain items are pressed inside the Ferrari before the engine is turned off. The car does not have keys to turn it on and off like most vehicles, according to employees who doubted the thief would have been able to turn the car back on once he shut it off.
Detectives were still investigating Thursday what the man's plans were for the car.Court records show Syme's criminal history in Utah dates back to 1986. His charges and convictions include issuing bad checks, deceptive business practice and retail theft.