ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. --A Port St. Lucie man says he was shocked to find what someone left behind in a loaner car at a local car dealership.
Neil Gaikowski says he left his car at Bev Smith Kia in Fort Pierce for a paint touch up.
He was given a loaner vehicle by the dealership while he waited for his car.
The loaner car came right off the sales lot, he says. The sticker was still on the window. But he says he learned an employee had driven it before him.
He drove the loaner car to work the next morning. He opened the center console to store some of his items. That’s when he felt a handgun.
“I didn’t even see it, I just put my phone in and I felt it,” Gaikowski said.
He says the gun was loaded and the safety was not on.
He began thinking, what if he accidentally grabbed the trigger? What if the car was sold to someone with the gun inside? What if it was stolen or used in a crime?
“Basically, my first reaction was call the police,” Gaikowski said.
Port St. Lucie police responded and found the gun had not been reported lost or stolen.
After calling police, Gaikowski called Bev Smith Kia to express his concerns over the situation. He says he had to leave a message.
But, he got a call from someone at the dealership minutes later. The call was from a man who Gaikowski says told him the gun belonged to him, asking if he could pick it up.
Gaikowski told the man the gun was with police.
Gaikowski says he feel the dealership was negligent by not thoroughly examining the car before giving it to him.
He says it put his family in danger.
“I have two small children, 5 and 8. They could have been in the car. They could have found it,” Gaikowski said.
Gaikowski was given a new loaner vehicle which he was sure to thoroughly inspect himself.
WPTV reached out to the dealership twice Tuesday for a comment. The dealership did not respond by Tuesday night.
Police say they are waiting for the gun’s owner to provide proof of ownership before handing it back over.