Police now say the prime suspect is 30-year-old Barion Blake, a career criminal known for stealing cars.
"He was identified in a photo array as the person at the accident scene, and his name is also on the bill of sale," said Commissioner Ray Kelly.
They say the trouble began after 33-year-old Akeem Ajimotokan, who lives in West New York, tried to sell his BMW online at www.cars.com and Blake claimed he wanted to buy it.
"It appeared he did go to the residence and there was at least a discussion about a sale," adds Kelly.
But somehow, Ajimotokan was tied up, stabbed and placed in the trunk, and he was only found alive because cops were called to the accident.
Six hours before, cops in Nassau county chased the car after it looked like two men were suspiciously removing its plates, but that chase ended on the Cross Island Parkway, when the cop car flipped over.
Meanwhile, police now say Blake has three prior arrests for stealing cars in Queens, Nassau and Bergen counties. They say he's 6-feet-8 inches tall, with tattoos on his arms, with the name "Tasha" and also a scroll and some Chinese writing.
Given what happened in this case, there are some safety tips, if you are trying to sell your own car. First of all, always get a copy of your potential buyer's driver's license and if you are meeting them in person, use common sense.
"It's probably best to do it in an open location with a lot of people," said Robert Sinclair with AAA New York.
The owner of the car is now in critical condition at Harlem Hospital, with stab wounds all over his body, his ear partially severed in the attack.