FIRE AND BRIMSTONE: Texas woman sounds alarm after fiery scam by praying 'mechanic'

HOUSTON, Texas -- "He was so dramatic."

Ashlyn Santiago says there's an undiscovered actor out there going around Houston, and he's putting on quite the show.

"If he can get an award for what he did, he would get it honestly," Ashlyn said.

Ashlyn told Eyewitness News the man flagged her down as she was driving near the Southwest Freeway and Fondren last Tuesday.

According to her, the man said something was wrong with her tire.

"If it was a pothole, I thought they were...if I didn't fix it, I was gonna kill someone," Ashlyn said. "And that's when he told me to pull over here."

The man immediately pointed out the problem.

"He tells me that these coils were here, it's twisted," Santiago said. "He was going to fix it for me."

And how convenient: he had the part already there, right in his truck.

Ashlyn wasn't quite convinced though and says that's when the man brought his little kids into the act.

"The little kids scream, 'Stop the car,' and I came around and there was a fire just under there," Ashlyn said.

Ashlyn says she doesn't know what trick he did or what the man used, but she's certain she saw fire. So she allowed him to "fix" her car.

She said the man's performance then turned to a higher power. He prayed for the God Almighty to heal her SUV.

"He was just saying, 'In Jesus' name, hopefully this works, hopefully this works,'" Ashlyn said. "I was just scared."

Next, the big finale.

"He said, 'Please, ma'am, I'm not asking you for labor work, but can you at least pay for the part?" Ashlyn recalls.

The cost: $380. Ashlyn said the only reason she didn't give him the money was because she didn't have it.

"I said, 'So, I don't have that much money,' and he's like, 'How much?'" Ashlyn recalls. "I said, 'I have $2 in my bank account.' He says, 'You can call Chase, make an overdraft, call them, call them so they can overdraft your account.'"

Police say they've received several reports about this same guy using the same M.O.

Last night, Eyewitness News talked to Trung Vo, who wasn't so lucky. But he did record the guy on his dashcam.

Trung gave the scammer $400. Ashlyn is convinced it is the same man. Same truck. Same kids.

So if you come in contact with this imposter on the road, "don't put your windows down, don't stop," Ashlyn said.
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