Police: Florida man stole car, tried to sell it back to owner for $200

Marquis Whipple

Marquis Whipple

When Tom Funicello learned his car was stolen, he spent the next two weeks thinking he would never see it again — until the man who stole it called him trying to sell it back.

Marquis Whipple of Riviera Beach was arrested on Wednesday on charges of grand theft auto after he stole Funicello’s 1998 Toyota Camry from his home in Boynton Beach and tried to sell it back to him.

Funicello reported the car stolen June 11, and two weeks later he got a call from Whipple, according to Boynton Beach police.

Whipple offered to sell the car back to him for $200.

“I was like ‘what?’ I couldn’t believe it,” Funicello said. “During this conversation, I just said to myself ‘I gotta get this car back,’ so I agreed to buy it back.”

It is unclear from the police report why Whipple reached out to Funicello to sell him the car back.

“He probably realized he couldn’t sell it, so he thought he would just sell it back to me,” Funicello said.

Funicello immediately called Boynton Beach police to report what happened. With the help of officers, Funicello scheduled a time to meet up with Whipple on Wednesday and buy his car back.

“He’s telling me I better not be setting him up,” Funicello said. “He says to me ‘I called you, I’m being the Good Samaritan here.’”

Funicello said he spoke on the phone with Whipple at least six times to convince him he was trustworthy. But instead of showing up for the meeting, Boynton Beach police were waiting at the gas station on Woolbright Road in an unmarked police car to arrest him.

Whipple initially claimed he bought the car from an unknown person for $400 and did not know it was stolen, according to police. He then said he knew it was stolen and wanted to return it to Funicello and “stated he believed he was doing a good deed,” the police report states.

The car was returned with the back window smashed in, the ignition jammed and a damaged engine, Funicello said.

“I’m just glad to have it back,” he said. “I was very happy with Boynton Beach Police. They did a great job helping me set it up.”

Whipple was taken to Palm Beach County Jail, where he was released two days later on $7,500 bail.