Caught on tape

CAUGHT ON TAPE: Police in Beverly Hills stopped Nicole Persson, 33, Sunday afternoon after she was spotted driving this Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren with a European license plate. (Spyder Dobrofsky)

Stefan Eriksson's famous exotic car collection keeps shrinking.

First, the former European videogame executive's rare Enzo Ferrari was destroyed in a mysterious crash Feb. 21 on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

Then, on Sunday, he lost his 2005 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, valued at more than $400,000. Beverly Hills police confiscated the vehicle after Scotland Yard said the car might have been stolen.

The officers stopped Eriksson's wife, Nicole Persson, 33, about 2:30 p.m. on the corner of Beverly Drive and Wilshire Boulevard because an officer found the car's European license plate suspicious.

The officer then discovered that Persson lacked a driver's license and that the car was not registered in the United States.

"We contacted Scotland Yard and subsequently learned that the car was perhaps stolen" out of the United Kingdom, Lt. Mitch McCann said.

The entire incident was caught on tape by a 13-year-old exotic car buff who has filmed Eriksson's vehicles in the past.

Beverly Hills authorities said they didn't have details of the British police case.

But Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Phil Brooks said that an unidentified financial institution says it owns the Mercedes and that a financial institution in Scotland says it was the owner of the Enzo.

This leaves Eriksson with only one of the three exotic cars he imported to the United States late last year, Brooks said.

"He brought in through San Diego two Ferraris and the Mercedes and said they were show cars and that he was not going to drive them on the streets," Brooks said.

Last month's crash prompted both an accident investigation and a probe by the Sheriff's Department's Homeland Security Division.

Although no one was injured in the crash, the investigation has generated significant attention because of the strange circumstances and the fact that it destroyed one of only 400 Enzo Ferraris ever built.

Eriksson, who lives in a gated Bel-Air estate, told deputies who arrived at the scene that he was not the driver and that another man, named Dietrich, had been behind the wheel.

Eriksson said Dietrich fled the scene.

But detectives said they were skeptical of his version of events.

Investigators have taken a swab of Eriksson's saliva to match his DNA against blood found on the Ferrari's driver's-side air bag.

Eriksson also told deputies that he was a deputy commissioner of the police department of a tiny transit agency in the San Gabriel Valley.

A few minutes after the crash, two men arrived at the crash scene, identified themselves as homeland security officers and spoke to Eriksson at length before leaving.

According to Car & Driver magazine, the Mercedes SLR McLaren is capable to going 200 mph and can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.

The car didn't just capture the eye of Beverly Hills police.

Spyder Dobrofsky, a 13-year-old car enthusiast, happened to be at the scene of Sunday's traffic stop and switched on his camera.

The teenager has photographed cars in Eriksson's collection before and knew immediately that the McLaren was his.

"The car really stands out because of the British plate," Spyder said.

Spyder said Eriksson's wife was with a young child when she was pulled over.

On the tape, Spyder asks the tow truck operator called to remove the Mercedes where he's taking it.

The man jokes: "To my house."