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Norwalk Car Deal Fails; Fairfield Man Arrested

A man who had agreed to buy a used Mercedes-Benz changed his mind three days later – he wanted his Rolex back and the salesman refused to return it, Norwalk police said.

The salesman Mario Brancato, 43, of Fairfield, had sold the watch, according to police. He was arrested and charged with larceny and breach of peace. Bond was set at $20,000.

The victim, an immigrant who has been here about a year, made a deal to buy the 2001 Mercedes-Benz for $11,500 at G&B Auto Sales. Brancato allegedly accepted his watch as a $3,000 down payment. No papers were signed, police said, and the victim walked away.

Three days later, he returned. A friend who was more experienced with American ways had told him to ask for a Carfax report. Brancato became angry and refused, according to Sgt. Lisa Cotto. The victim said he wouldn't buy the car without the report and wanted the watch back. Brancato said he had held the car and wanted the $8,500. He was cursing and yelling in front of other customers, including a woman with a child, police said.

The victim left without his watch and contacted police. Cotto said Brancato confirmed the account and said the two had a gentlemen's agreement because they had shook hands. Police told Brancato that with no papers signed, he couldn't keep the watch unless the victim had the car.

At this point, Brancato admitted that he had sold the Rolex to a guy with a flea market in Rochester, N.Y. After speaking to police, Brancato allegedly called the victim and offered him $3,000 for the watch. But when they met Brancato had only $2,200 and promised the rest later.

The victim said he accepted the money because he was afraid not to. Then he contacted police.

Cotto said an arrest would not usually be made in this type of case, but because the victim accepted money out of fear for his life the officer felt it was warranted. Brancato's court date is March 31.

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