Almost Grand Theft Auto

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By an edhat reader

My neighbor Martin shared the below story and it's too good not to reshare. Hope you all enjoy the laugh!


My 5 minutes of grand theft auto:

A few days ago we rented a great minivan (MSRP~ 50k) to drive our visiting grandkids around.  We took them to Kid's World on Garden Street, where the parking limit is 90 minutes.  The kids weren't ready to leave after 90, so I decided to drive the rental van around a few corners and re-park, starting the 90 minute clock over.  The van was keyless and I was carrying the fob, so the car door opened automatically.  I drove off.   

After turning the first corner I noticed some odd things: the mileage was 4000 less than the rental agent had said.  There was an apple charging cable plugged in, and I didn't put it there.  Then the clincher: through the mirror I could see that there were no children's car seats: I was driving the wrong car! - one almost identical to the one I'd rented.

I returned to the original location (I hope) and tried to lock the car with my fob.  There was a nice confirming chirp, but it came not from the car I had just gotten out of, but from one about 25 feet away - my virtually identical rental.  

How was this adventure possible?  My tech savvy daughter offered this theory: the owner of the other car had left the door unlocked and the fob inside.  Anybody could just walk up and drive away, just as I had done.  The moral of the story:  lock your car or at least take the fob - especially if the car is worth $50k.  Not everyone would have returned it.

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Luvaduck Dec 31, 2022 07:53 AM
Almost Grand Theft Auto

I unlocked the trunk on my Civic, put my groceries in, and shut it. I couldn't get in the driver's door. Then I saw a sweater than wasn't mine on the passenger seat and realized it wasn't my car. I was trying futilely to get the trunk open again when the owner arrived. She was suspicious, but when she opened her trunk and found my groceries, we both had a laugh. Mine was a lane over in roughly the same spot. How my key opened the trunk, then didn't is still a mystery. I wasn't in Texas and she wasn't carrying an UZI so I'm alive to tell the tale.

notme Dec 31, 2022 09:27 AM
Almost Grand Theft Auto

@LUVADUCK, after my experience, I heard a lot of stories from people, especially involving two car brands. Maybe the companies were too lazy to make individual keys! Also, the person whose care I took said they'd had the problem before with a different car made by a 3rd manufacturer!

Getoffmylawn Dec 30, 2022 11:06 PM
Almost Grand Theft Auto

Being self aware is really important. Just by sitting in your seat you couldn't tell? Mirrors ex...

a-1672511833 Dec 31, 2022 10:37 AM
Almost Grand Theft Auto

It was a rental car; he wasn’t accustomed to any of it.

notme Dec 30, 2022 06:22 PM
Almost Grand Theft Auto

I did this about 20 years ago, with a car with an ignition key. My husband and I were at an event with a friend, who had a medical emergency. She decided to go to ER, and asked me to drive her car home for her. She had just gotten it (used), and I'd never seen it, but she told me what it looked like and where it was parked. When I got to the location, there were 2 identical cars parked next to each other. The key worked in the 2nd, so that's the one I took -- turned out it was the wrong one! We located the owner's name in the car and let them know what had happened, then took it back and got my friend's car (still had trouble with the key).

bjgreen Dec 30, 2022 03:13 PM
Almost Grand Theft Auto

What goes around, comes around, I guess. This story reminded me of one I included in my book “Way Back When: Santa Barbara in 1917.”
A Santa Barbara driver “innocently took possession of” another man’s Ford on State Street because he thought it was his: “The substitution of machines was simply a case of mistaken identity. Both machines were new, and were standing on State Street here.” The mixed-up driver, “jumped into the nearest car, which he presumed to be his own, and started out.” When the car’s owner came out and realized his car was missing, he jumped into the remaining car and trailed the first driver to Ventura, but failed to locate him. However, the first driver heard about his error, and planned to return to SB and swap cars.
(Back in 1917, cars did not have keyed ignitions. Anyone could crank up a car and take off.)

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