Texts show salesman demanding sex for car

Published: Jul. 21, 2016 at 6:45 PM CDT
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Philadelphia police say they're investigating a situation where a woman was allegedly sexually harassed by people trying to sell her a car.

The woman says the contractors for the traveling car sales company would only sell her the car in return for sexual favors.

Sarah Ellis says she was only trying to buy a car last weekend, but that purchase turned into sexual harassment, a police investigation and now fear for her safety. It started on Saturday, when Ellis visited BC Auto Liquidators, a traveling car dealership, in her hometown of Philadelphia.

"Before I ever really get out of the car, this one salesman, which is normal at a sales place, jumps on me," Ellis says. "I guess he saw my dingy car and thought, yeah, she needs a car."

Ellis says soon after, he started to make her feel uncomfortable, by touching her leg and offering her a job.

"I was being kind, but I wasn't returning the flirt," she says.

She says he told her that her credit wasn't good enough for the car she wanted, but he would try to help. Ellis says he called later telling her she got the car and began threatening her.

"He said I do have the information, I do have your address, and I will come find you because I'm helping you out," Ellis says. "Basically, I found out he was cosigning for me. This man that I don't even know."

Those phone threats turned into text messages, demanding sex in exchange for the car saying quote 'no hookup possibilities, no car', followed by more inappropriate texts from another salesmen. The owner of BC Auto Liquidators, Charles Harris, says he severed ties with those men.

"She sent me the text messages, and I immediately cut our obligations and told him his services were no longer needed. Both of them," Harris says.

Harris says the actions of those men don't represent his company. He agreed to give their names to police Thursday. Ellis says she's still frightened of these men who have her name, address, phone number and social security information.

"I'm terrified," she says. "I'm beginning to develop this thing where I have to keep checking that the doors are locked."

Philadelphia police chief Grant Myers says they are working to find the men now, but if caught, they would only be charged with telephone harassment.

Some of the messages Ellis received are attached to this story.