If you know who stole your car, you should report it to your local police department immediately to attempt to recover it. Since it is your property, you can technically just walk up to your car, get in, and drive away like normal. However, if this type of situation can put you in danger, you should seek help from law enforcement.
Many times, we try to play detective and figure out who stole the car by through Facebook, witness reports, or by looking through our security cameras. I have heard many frustrating stories about this, when you know who stole your car but can do absolutely nothing about since the police doesn’t seem very interested or can’t seem to help out.
It’s understandable that they become numb to the whole thing since the chance of recovering something that was stolen may never be recovered, or that they need to work with the evidence you provide. There are a lot of things that can go wrong in this and reasons why you won’t be able to prove that the person you suspect did in fact steal your car.
Things to Watch Out For
- The police will have no proof if the suspect was not caught driving the car or somehow claiming ownership of it
- The person can claim that you let them borrow the car
- The police may be able to recover the car for you, but the person who stole it may not be found (even if they left traceable stuff in your car!)
All of these things sound hard to believe, but they happen. You have to document everything and be able to prove that the other person is guilty. But you also have to think why you want to charge somebody for theft –did they damage the car, remove parts, or stole things you had inside? If so, it might be worth it to pursue the case. Think long and hard about this, since most of the time it has not been worth it to me!
When my car got stolen and recovered, I found that the thieves took the entertainment system, CDs, my GPS locator, ripped buttons from the control module, and slashed my seats just for the heck of it and even bumped the car somewhere since it also had cosmetic damage. Oh, and there were things missing from under the hood.
Since the police recovered it while someone was driving it, they arrested the guy and I got a visit from the police to ask what I wanted to do about it. I told them that I wanted to charge the guy with theft and made a list of all of the damages. A while later, I got a letter from the DA saying that the guy would have to pay me that money that he caused in damages, lost wages, and bank fraud (I had left my checkbook in the car).
Here’s What You Should Do:
- Gather all of your information and evidence
- Call your local PD with the information
- Decide if you want to charge the person, and through what procedure
I want to reemphasize that you should strongly consider if this it is worth the hassle, stress, and money (and time, and, and, and…) associated with this. As some of you guys know, I have been through this several times and I know for a fact that it is not worth it to me.
And I’m not talking about the paperwork only.
After something like that happens, you just feel weird about it. I don’t know if you guys agree with me or not, but being taken advantage of like that and getting back a car that has been modified or destroyed just makes me feel violated.
If I were you, all I would be concerned about is getting what I can back, attempt to recover some money in damages through the DA or something, move on with the repair process, and getting back on the road.
If you’re one of the lucky ones that got the car back in one piece and with no damages, even better! Don’t try to get back at the person who stole it, but make sure that it gets reported with all of the information that you have. If the police tell you that there is nothing they can do, be sure to get a second opinion, but also understand that if you are considering that getting back at the person who did this will make you feel better, it will not.
With extremely easy access to trace suspects nowadays with security camera footage, GPS locators, apps, Facebook, Instagram, etc., it might be fun to try to play detective for a while and hope to end up in one of those viral videos or photos where you car gets recovered and the person gets shamed for being a thief on social media, but I think its best to move on.
Best of luck with this!
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