Hooniverse Asks- Have You Ever Had a Car Stolen?


We’ve all experienced it, that sickening feeling in your gut when you come back to where you think you remember parking your car only to find an empty space, or another in its place. A wave of relief comes over you when you realize that you were mistaken, and your car is an aisle or two over.  But what if it wasn’t?
Years ago I had a 1969 MGB-GT that was my wife’s daily driver. One day, upon arriving home after work I found the carport empty and thought my wife had not arrived home yet. When I got in the front door of our apartment I discovered her coat and purse in the hall and began to get suspicious. After asking her where the car was, she assured me it was sitting in the carport downstairs, and we hustled down to check. My worst fears were realized- the car was gone.
A police report was filed, and we set about searching out a replacement set of wheels. One thing led to another and we didn’t get around to buying anything for a long time, which was a good thing as 6-months after losing the car, we received a phone call from a guy about 20 miles from us asking if we owned the little yellow B as it had been sitting in the same spot across from his apartment for the past 6 months and he thought it was abandoned. He got our number when he asked the DMV to run the plate.
Long story short, we alerted the police, who rescinded the APB or whatever it is they do, and we drove the car home. That was a happy ending, and we were fortunate that whomever took our little B was only interested in getting to North Hollywood. But it doesn’t always turn out so well for the victims of car theft, and we want to know if you have some tales of woe regarding what was once your pride and joy . So, have you ever had a car stolen? If so, did you ever get it back?

Image sources:[Flickr,legaljuice.com]

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  1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    @ graverobber: The car was in good condition when you got it back too? No signs of "drive it like you stole it?" Just readjust the seat and on your way?
    Personally, never had a car stolen. Have a friend who got his truck stolen, and actually found later by Detroit Police. Whey they told him they found his truck, he was happy. DPD asked why he was so happy, to which he obviously replied, 'because you found my truck.'
    DPD then let him know that they found it burned to the ground, with 4 wheels and the air bag missing.

  2. P161911 Avatar

    Not personally, just a break-in with my old Blazer. My family did have two cars stolen last year though. My parents had moved a few miles down the road, but kept their old house. At the old house was a 73 Chevy C-10 pick-up (in pretty rough shape, rusty, but mechanically sound), and my grandmother's ~1992 Buick Park Avenue Ultra. We had quit using the Chevy, but I hoped to one day restore it or find a new home for the 350 in it. My mother had not been using the Buick, because she thought that her mother was going to leave it to her other daughter/my mother's sister that was somewhat estranged from the family. About a month before my grandmother died someone came over in the middle of the day and towed the truck and the Buick away. After my grandmother died, my mother discovered that she was the one that got the car and she could have been using it. I kept a check on Craigslist and the pull-a-part yards for a few weeks. I thought we got luck when Pull-a-part showed a 73 Chevy Truck and 92 Buick Park Ave both showed up on the same day, but it wasn't our stolen ones. The truck was probably scrapped, but the Buick was in fairly typical "little old lady" good condition. Both VINs have been reported to the cops as stolen, so maybe someday…..

  3. FTGDHoonEdition Avatar

    DPD actually found something? Even if it was destroyed….

    1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

      I was shocked to hear that myself!!!

  4. FTGDHoonEdition Avatar

    That's just sad.

  5. LTDScott Avatar

    Not personally, no. My dad's 86 Chevy C20 pickup was stolen when I was a kid though. Living this close to the border, it's guaranteed that it went to Mexico and we never saw it again.
    A good friend of mine had his '94 Integra stolen here in San Diego a few years ago. He was actually somewhat happy about it because he was about to sell the car and it needed some work. The day it was stolen he decided to walk to a friend's place a few block away, and just a block away from where the car was stolen he found it parked in front of a house. So he called the cops, waited with the car for an hour, and then decided to go on his way and let the cops deal with it. When the cops got there, the car was gone.
    He walked down the block the next day and the car was there again! He called the cops again and told them to get their asses down there ASAP which they did. They arrested a teenager who apparently had plans on just driving the car around indefinitely – he had actually filled up the car with gas, so it had more gas in it when my friend got it back than when it was stolen! Some body damage was incurred during the theft which was covered by insurance, along with some previous damage. He sold it for $1000 more than he was initially hoping for because it was in better shaft after the theft than before!

  6. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    Now, you did ensure that the water pump grenaded after about 50 miles?

  7. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    I've never lived in a seedy neighborhood, never left my car unlocked in the city, and never been divorced. So no.
    I have left my car street-parked with the doors unlocked and keys on the dash after dark, forgetfully… but hell, it's a small town, and it's a slightly distinctive car.

  8. joshuman Avatar

    After not selling the V70 for 14 months, I started leaving it unlocked everywhere I went. Granted, I mostly just drove to work, the grocery store, and home in that car but I was hoping for somebody to steal it. It was a nice car and in good shape but we didn't need it and it was worth more stolen than the eventual sale price.

  9. Festiva_Movemnt Avatar

    What sucks is that if you try to argue the craptitude of the Ion with a non-enthusiast, you will lose the arguement. Because the little shitbox does everything it NEEDS to do, it just does it all in a terribly mediocre fashion. I will say that the Ecotec 4 in it isn't as underpowerd as it could (make that should) be, especially with the grabby 5-speed.
    The one positive thing I can say about it is it really is a care-free car to own. You don't really find yourself worrying about bumping into things, or scratching the paint, because the resale is already shit…
    Mine will be paid-off this month, but I've promised to slog around in it until a truly valid reason arises for dumping it. At that point I will be rewarding myself with an NA (maybe NB) MX-5.

  10. Alff Avatar

    My first vehicle, a 1978 Ford Courier was hotwired at the trailhead of the Lake Annette trail and beaten merciliessly on logging roads. The Ne'er-do-well trail rats who did it were at least considerate enough to leave it where the found it, so I could limp back into town.____A fraternity brother's 1st gen Celica was stolen off the street in South Central LA. I discovered it a few blocks away two days later, pulled the high tension lead and dropped it in his lap back at the house. The only clue to the culprit was a piece of paper with the words "Jose Contreras – English Tutor" and a phone number, found on the passenger seat.

  11. RacinG73 Avatar

    As he was heading one way down the road, he saw my wife's Grand Cherokee go passing by the other direction. he swung around and saw two teens hop out of the car and go running into the field. The Jeep was still rolling when they jumped out, and so it ended up in a bush along the side of the road. The cops chased down and caught one 'perp' immediately and the other shortly thereafter. They weren't even 16 years old, both black, and both had BMX bicycles that they threw into the back of the Jeep. When we got the car back it was repaired up to insurance company standards, but was noticeably different. The gear shift had been messed with, the front bumper trim was sagging and there was a lot of noise in the door panel when you closed it or hit a bump. So we ended up trading it in on a 1999 Mazda 626 using the then-rare 36 months at 0.9% financing.

  12. the_doctor Avatar

    God, that is the most depressing thing I have read today.

  13. engineerd Avatar

    I feel lucky that I've never had a car stolen or even broken into. I thought my car had been stolen in college once when I came out of my dorm room and it wasn't in the lot. Then I remembered I had driven it to class on the other side of campus that morning because I was running late, then walked to lunch and back up to my dorm.
    But, while we're on the subject of getting things stolen, I keep hoping someone will steal the aluminum siding from my house. There were a rash of siding thefts in Detroit a few years ago when the price of metals was through the roof. I left for Germany for 2 weeks hoping that when I came back the siding would be gone. Nope. I just want the insurance company to pay for new vinyl siding!
    Stupid Dearborn and your large police force!

  14. lilwillie Avatar

    Never got that far. I chewed her ass up down in out and sideways. Her hubby, a very big, big guy just sat in the drivers seat and watched. Once I was done with her and she walked out in a huff I asked him WTF? He just shrugged. Size 2 hat, size 52 jacket, I shouldn't have expected a answer.

  15. blueplate Avatar

    I think I saw that movie. Did you go to his house and take a baseball bat to the new Corvette sitting on the street in front? Stop by the In-N-Out burger on your way home, too?

  16. blueplate Avatar

    My parents had a well-optioned Ford Bronco they offered for sale a few years ago. It had 225,000 miles on the clock, and still ran like a top.. no rust.. but it had just become surplus to their needs. They listed it in the paper, and before long a guy called to make an appointment to see the truck.
    So he shows up in a Lincoln Town Car, a tall guy apparently, claimed he was from out of town, a golf pro/teacher of some kind apparently, and meets my folks, looks over the car and asks my folks to take it to a local mechanic to get it checked out. They think about it, hand over the keys, and and a few days go by with no word. Turns out the Town Car out front is less of a gem once you can see it during daylight hours, and once they call the police, they find out that it's stolen, too. Just like their Bronco.
    I still miss that truck .. if I'd known what was good for me, I'd have given them their asking price for it, and kept it for myself. As it was, it turned up in Texas a couple of years later, repainted. But it was the insurance company's problem by then, and I guess it's probably crushed or in a junkyard somewhere.

  17. Alff Avatar

    Funny – Mine is a true story but I vaguely remember the baseball bat to Corvette scene you describe. The owner eventually comes out of a house across the street, IIRC. What movie was that?

    1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      You can't just vaguely remember the Big Lebowski, man. I don't think it's possible.

      1. Alff Avatar

        If you're living right, that's the only way to remember it.

  18. Thrashy Avatar

    Was it yellow? We CRX guys have something we call the "Y-49 Curse," and this sounds like it fits the bill…

  19. rennsport964 Avatar

    Electron Blue Pearl, B-95P. Beautiful color, but appears to have significant baggage in hindsight.

  20. CptSevere Avatar

    I've never had a vehicle stolen. Nobody's going to steal my F100 because nobody knows how to drive 3 on the tree anymore.

    1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

      you're becoming my hero.

  21. nassin2 Avatar

    I had a car stolen right in front of me. I was working at a quick change oil place at the time. It was the end of day and were were wrapping up while the cars were warming up since it was the middle of January. My car was sitting outside the closed garage doors warming up and next thing I know my car is driving off without me in it. As luck would have it, the windows had been tinted a couple days previous so I couldn't see who was in the car. Long story short, the cops found the car the next day in a seedier part of town no worse for the wear. Apparently, someone needed a ride across town. All I lost was a wallet of cd's, a pager, and the face off the stereo. They left the head unit in the dash, the 3 amps and subs in the trunk and a small tool bag full of tools. I made out like a bandit after filing an insurance claim for the stolen items. It ended up being enough to put an Eibach lowering kit, intake and exhaust on the car.

  22. BGW, Capt (Ret.) Avatar

    I tried to have a car stolen once. My '88 Regal (Occasionally Working Digital Dash Edition) had been sitting in largely the same spot on the street for several weeks, despite my attempts to donate it to various charities, when I realized that quarterly street cleaning was coming up in a couple weeks. Now, the Regal was barely clinging to life in the first place. The Saturn dealer peed his pants laughing when I inquired about its potential trade-in value and a half-assed campaign to sell it to some unsuspecting college kids proved fruitless. So it sat on the street. And sat. And sat. 'Til the day of the street-cleaning revelation. Of course, it wouldn't start. I tried to jump it, both from the not-yet-Hellish Saturn and from a booster box, to no avail. Replaced the battery, vague signs of life, but still no-go. Finally, after slaughtering a goat and hiring an Orthodox priest to circle the car with one of those smoking incense balls, it started. Then died. Rinse, repeat as necessary. At that point, not wanting to pay for any repairs to something I wanted rid of, I called every junkyard in town asking if they were interested (absolutely, sir!) and if they picked up (Um, we'll get back to you…click). Finally, I did what any desperate dirtbag enterprising young man would do and unlocked every door, rolled the windows down as much as I could (about .0864545 inches…damned electrical system) and left the keys on the driver's seat. The 7 pennies in the ashtray disappeared, as did the old battery from the backseat (fortunately, it wasn't relocated someone else's backseat via the rear window), but the car remained. Street-cleaning day arrived, so I recruited 2 neighbors to help me push the heap to a side street so as to avoid the City's extortion-level towing & impound fees.
    45 minutes after moving it, one of the junkyards called to inform me they had a rollback in the general area and they'd be happy to take the car off my hands if I was still interested. I'm fairly certain I invented several curse words that day.
    (any lack of judgement, lawfulness or common sense in this tale can be chalked up to the fact that I was 23 years old and trying to figure out how to pay for a car note, too-large apartment and girlfriend w/ expensive tastes on a paper-pusher salary. Or I'm just a dumbass, either way.)

  23. Thrashy Avatar

    What, you don't like your plastic car with remote-control-via-geosynchronous-satellite steering feel and three-mile-long dashboard?
    My roommate has one. He loves it, because it's a car. I hate it, because it's an appliance.

  24. Maymar Avatar

    I'd make a quip about how I've never had anything worth stealing (and indeed, I've never lost a car to theft). But then in '99, my parents' '93 Plymouth Sundance was stolen from a hotel in Niagara Falls. The police found it in Hamilton with an empty tank, and every single item that wasn't bolted down taken from the car. But, outside of the missing ashtray, it was in the same condition as before, so my parents drove it for another three years,

  25. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Grand Theft Upgrade!

  26. Nate Gnau Avatar
    Nate Gnau

    Lucky barsterd! Murilee, I just want to say that you & Ken Block are my heroes.

  27. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    3 Cars stolen in 3 years.
    1) '91 Wrangler, stolen from the UC San Diego student lot. They stole my 35" tires + wheels, center console + stereo, rear drawer + tools. They didn't steal the doors, the seats, the battery, or anything mechanical. What kind of weak-ass strip job is that. Lucky for me, Farmers insurance paid to have to built back for everything I had a receipt for.
    2) 1985 4Runner, stolen from outside of Scripps hospital in Kearney Mesa, San Diego. Parked it at 8:00am, came out at 5:30 and it was gone. Never seen or heard from again. Got more from insurance than I could've sold it for, but I'd just spent like $2400 to have the whole top-end rebuilt at a really good shop. Didn't really see that part of my "investment" back. I'd only owned it for about 10 months.
    3) 1987 4Runner. Stolen from in front of my future-wife's house in La Mesa. Walked out in the morning and it was gone. Bought it for $4500, got $4k from insurance after owning it for about 14 months.
    The moral of the story? If you own a 4×4 in San Diego, better install a hidden ignition lock-out switch.

    1. Murilee Martin Avatar
      Murilee Martin

      After my brother-in-law's '88 Toyota pickup was stolen in Oakland for the second time, I installed a secret ignition kill switch. Since then, three attempts to steal the truck, none successful (though the door and ignition locks were destroyed twice, the driver's side window smashed once, and the hood pried open and the latch mangled). So, yeah, the kill switch works, but your truck will still get trashed.

  28. ptschett Avatar

    The worst vandalism I've had on a car was that some douche took off my gas cap in the parking lot of a Wal-mart in Longview, TX. I don't think they realized how long the filler neck is on a '96 Thunderbird, my gas level wasn't any different.
    A neighbor kid stole my bicycle from my parents' lawn once when I was home from college. They were dumb enough to be out riding it and seen by my dad as he drove home from work a few days later. We got it back the next day with an apology and they got to pay for replacing the seat they tore and the tire they flat-spotted down to the cords.

    1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

      That'd be why I bought a locking gas cap. Jeeps just have the filler hanging out there in the wind.

  29. P161911 Avatar

    You did even better than I did when I had by Blazer broken into in college. The thief only left me a cheap off-brand radar detector that I turned into the cops. What really pissed me off though was the broken vent window (was still finding little bits of glass years later) and the broken wooden toolbox that I had made. All of that to steal a $4.99 crappy Autozone socket set. Luckily they left the rest of the Craftsman and Snap-on tools in the tool bag and the 6-cell Mag light. A few weeks campus police caught someone breaking in a car and declared several hundred cases closed. This happened at Georgia Tech, it wasn't a matter of if your car would get broken into, but when. Now the local scumbags have moved up to just direct muggings.

  30. DingoDogg Avatar

    Greatings, Amazing! Not clear for me, how offen you updating your hooniverse.com.
    DingoDogg

  31. Computer Upgrades columbus Avatar

    This is absolutely fantastic. Thankyou for putting this out there.

  32. Ames Siding Company Avatar

    Excellent job.

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