Posted Jan 29th 2013 9:15AM
"Looking for a company you can trust? Look no further!" says the boldface type on Top Gear Autoworks' website, an automotive service, repair and storage shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Not a very wise move, say the local authorities, after recently arresting David Juntunen, the 40-year-old male owner of the shop, and charging him with insurance fraud after an unauthorized – and destructive – late-night joyride in a customer's Lamborghini.
According to the official report, in late 2011 a customer entrusted Top Gear Autoworks to store a 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo through winter. Believing the car was tucked safely away for the next several months, probably sucking on a trickle charger, the owner suspended its collision insurance.
Everything seemed fine until March 9, 2012. That was when the State alleges that Juntunen and Pamela Dupont (a 41-year-old lady friend) plowed the Italian exotic into a few trees and a couple light poles at 2:00 AM. Instead of calling the cops to investigate, the two brought the vehicle back to the shop and Juntunen filed his own insurance claim for the repairs (the damage estimate was US$82,480 for the car and US$10,000 for destroyed property) saying the vehicle was simply being moved between his facilities. The insurance company, after doing a bit of investigation and learning that a Lamborghini had been witnessed driving at a high rate of speed in the area by two different observers (including a police officer), denied the claim.
But there is always more to these stories. In a post-crash conversation, Juntunen told the owner of the Lamborghini that his earlier statements to the police constitute insurance fraud and he mentioned that Dupont wasn't behind the wheel. Most damning, however, was the discovery that he has a criminal history including third-degree criminal sexual conduct, third-degree burglary, motor vehicle theft and multiple alcohol-related driving convictions meaning any vehicle he operated was required to have an ignition interlock. Ugh.