Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Southern Australia Man Drove Someone Else’s Car Home — Oops

Map of Australia with Stansbury locator

Map of Australia with Stansbury locator

A man on the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia in the small town Stansbury, population 543, reported his car stolen after he left it on July 18, 2013, parked outside a shop, with doors unlocked, keys in the ignition and the engine running.

Police, who probably hadn’t had this much excitement in years, acted quickly. They figured that the gray Hyundai hatchback couldn’t have gotten far, and called in backup from law enforcement in Yorketown, Ardrossan, Maitland and Port Wakefield to ensure the vehicle’s remaining in the Yorke area.

Some astute observer, a member of law enforcement one hopes, who was at the scene, eventually noticed a gray Toyota hatchback, also with the keys in the ignition, engine running, and doors unlocked, parked in the spot next to that of the missing Hyundai.

Careful deduction and quick detective work led investigators to the name and address of the Toyota owner, who had mistakenly taken the wrong gray, imported hatchback home — was his face red.

He apologized and brought the Hyundai back to the rightful owner, where a waiting police escort took him to his Toyota.

No arrest was made, and no charges filed, but police did make a special appeal to citizens to take their keys and lock their cars every time, no matter what.

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