The second time a bike got stolen on a test ride, while I worked at Destinations, was a nice little scam. The first time was more just a dine-and-dash: The guy went on a test ride and never came back.
At that time, we were following the mom-and-pop, we're all in this together, model and we didn't ask for an I.D. before a test ride. That guy took off on a StumpJumper and just never came back. By the time we figured out what was going on, it was too late.
The second time it happened, though, we were requiring I.D. for a test ride. It was a busy Saturday afternoon, the store was crowded and everyone on the sales floor was dealing with multiple customers, at once.
The guy came in, along with 4 or 5 other people, and politely said he could wait. No hurry. Here to buy a bike, so no rush. He chatted with people, and commented on their purchases. All the while, he was checking out the medium-priced mountain bikes on the sales floor.
Eventually, the time came for him to take a test ride, and he was looking at at a $450.00 DiamondBack.
"Oh, man," he said, looking in his wallet. "I don't have my driver's license. How about if I just leave you the keys to my car?" he asked, glancing toward the parking lot.
"Oh, okay," the not-to-be-named salesperson said. "That'll work."
The keys were deposited under the sales counter, and the "customer" took his test ride, while the salesman kept an eye on him. He came back, and chatted about the bike, and mentioned a few concerns. So, he tried another, slightly more expensive model.
Again, he came back, and decided to try out the top-of-the-line model, just for comparison's sake.
Needless to say, that test ride is still going on, 15 years later. We never saw the friendly "customer" again...or the bike.
His keys, of course, didn't match any car in the parking lot. Most likely they were stolen, or just random keys that he had gathered up to use as a decoy.
I'm glad I didn't send him out on that test ride. The sales guy in question didn't really get in any trouble (the guy had taken us all in), but he felt bad about losing the bike. Insurance covered it, but our rates went up (again) because of the loss.
I always thought that it took a lot of nerve to stand around for an hour, talking to people and keeping up the friendly act, knowing that you were about to steal $2500.00 worth of bike from the people you are joking around with.