COSTA MESA ( — A Placentia woman was arrested on suspicion of pretending to be sick and stealing two cars from two dealerships in Costa Mesa.

On Sunday, Iliana Villasenor, 38, walked into a Toyota dealership on Harbor Boulevard and asked to test drive a used Prius, according to police.

From the moment the suspect stepped foot into the business at about 9 a.m., Armando Cervantes said he had a bad feeling.

But his coworker, who was a new salesman and eager to please, let Villasenor drive with him around the block.

“In that test drive, I guess she was falling asleep. So he had to tell her a couples times – ‘wake up, wake up.’ She was swerving. She almost hit a car,” Cervantes recalled.

Then she asked to test drive a white Honda Accord. While behind the wheel, she fell asleep again.

So the salesman told her to pull over. After he got out, the woman took off with the Honda, Cervantes said.

“So then he ran and grabbed that truck – the Tacoma. And then I followed him on the red Tacoma. So we were driving that way.” Cervantes said.

She got away, but not for long because the car had an engine immobilizer.

“I think she turned it off and thought she could turn it back on. And by then, it was off,” Cervantes added.

So the suspect abandoned the Honda. But hours later, police said Villasenor tried again and hit a Fiat dealership also on Harbor Boulevard.

She asked to test drive a new black Fiat 500E. The manager said she pretended to be sick. While a salesman got her a bottle of water, she drove off with the car.

An hour later, officers located the suspect in the stolen Fiat near West 19th Street and Placentia Avenue, police said.

After a brief chase, police stopped and arrested her near Placentia Avenue and Superior Avenue.

Villasenor was being held on $100,000 on charges evading police and grand theft auto.

Officers recovered both stolen vehicles.


Leave a Reply