Jennifer Millman

New York Car Shop Owner Accused of Stealing Dead Man's Porsche

The auto body shop owner says the case is a sham brought about by a local builder angry he had dated his daughter

A New York auto body shop owner has been arrested for allegedly filing paperwork to claim ownership of a Porsche he was working on when the owner died unexpectedly. 

The shop owner, Patrick Torpey, though, says he's had the 1978 Porsche for 20 years, that the dead man had given it to his son, and the case is a sham brought about by a local builder angry Torpey dated his daughter. 

According to police, authorities had been looking for the vehicle for eight months as the dead owner's wife tried to resolve some outstanding issues with his estate. They say Torpey, 53, had the car at his 20th Century Towing and 21st Century Auto Body in New Windsor for repairs in 2012 and when the owner suddenly died, he allegedly began filing false documents with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicle to take ownership. 

Torpey eventually got a new title of ownership in his name, police say. Authorities say Torpey knew the dead client's wife personally and that she was looking for the car, but purposely hid it from her. It wasn't until last summer, years after the owner's death, that the Porsche's whereabouts were discovered and Torpey's alleged fraud revealed, police say. Torpey says the wife knew he had the car the whole time, and even says he has a Christmas card from the family saying they hoped Torpey's son "PJ" enjoyed the Porsche. 

Torpey was charged Wednesday with grand larceny, perjury and other crimes related to the alleged forged documents. He posted bail following his arraignment and was released. The Porsche was taken from his garage and is in the custody of the New Windsor Police Department, pending prosecution. 

Torpey says he expects the charges to be dropped. He also says he has filed 16 complaints against the builder. And as for the reaction from people in town, Torpey says everyone loves his mugshot. 

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