It was taken, not by a car thief, but by a repo-man.
He doesn't owe a dime on the car.
But what 7 On Your Side went through to get it back is a lesson for every used car buyer.
"You got keys but no car?" 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda asked.
"No car, correct," said Carlos Quiles, used car buyer.
Carlos Quiles is beamer-less in the Bronx.
It's not a good thing for a dad who could really use a set of wheels.
He and his wife have half dozen daughters that need to be driven everywhere.
"How are you dealing now with 6 children and no car?" Pineda asked.
"It's horrible," Quiles said.
That's why earlier this year Carlos thought he got a deal, buying a used beamer SUV at a New York City Marshall's auto auction.
"He said it's clean," Quiles said.
"Clean, no lien?" Pineda asked.
"No lien at all," Quiles said.
So he went to work tricking out his new car and customizing it with special rims and a killer sound system.
"You put almost $8,000 into this car," Pineda said.
"It was $8,000, yes," Quiles said.
He never knew about a lien belonging to his car's prior owner.
"I was in shock. I couldn't believe it," Quiles said.
The repo man came and towed his ride away.
For the past month Carlos's been caught between the finance company and the city.
In 30 days the car will be auctioned off again.
"Who's been trying to fix this for you?" Pineda asked.
"Nobody actually," Quiles said.
Nobody except 7 On Your Side. After 7 On Your Side got in the driver's seat, the Marshal's Office stepped up big, even though buyers at auction purchase "at their own risk". They refunded him his full purchase price.
"In the end the City Marshals now took a loss?" Pineda said.
"Took a loss, yeah," Quiles said.
Their loss was his win. He took that $3,900 cash, paid off the old lien, and just like that it was high five time.
Carlos had his souped-up SUV, this time with clean title, making him and his posse very happy.
One simple way Carlos could've saved himself repo remorse is by doing some research.
To research a car's title:
In New York:
In New Jersey: