Back in the 90s, there was a teenager who got a 1984 Jeep CJ7 as his first car—“a pretty sweet ride for a dirt poor teenager.”
Needless to say, he was devastated when he found out it was stolen.
He had been working at a gas station around midnight—it was the only 24-hour station in the area—and had lent the car to his brother. At around 1 in the morning, he got a phone call from his brother. He’d left the keys in the ignition, and some people had driven off with the car.
His heart sank, thinking he’d never see the car again.
Except, not even off the phone with his brother yet, he saw the Jeep pull into the gas station right then.
Now, he worked in a full-service gas station—meaning he would have to interact with the thief—and he knew a quirk of his car’s that the thief obviously didn’t.
“As luck would have it, the gas gauge on my Jeep was broken and always read empty,” he recounted on reddit. And seeing as his was the only gas station in the area, they had to show up here.
So he then pressed the silent alarm to call the police, and then filled up his own car with gas.
“When the thieves were out of the jeep, I saw an opportunity to slip the key out of the ignition and into my pocket.”
They spent the next few minutes arguing with each other over who had the keys last—just long enough for the police to arrive.
Their act was up.
“I had to explain the story to the officer half a dozen times before he understood,” he recounted—after all, it’s pretty crazy. “The thieves had this stunned look of disbelief on their faces I’ll never forget.”
The police likely wouldn’t either.
“The cops were belly-laughing telling the story to dispatch, all the while the thieves sat in the cuffs in the back of the squad car. The story made most of the major newspapers the following day.”
In fact, this was doubly ironic, the reddit user later added, because the ignition in the Jeep was broken as well—it didn’t even need a key to start.
After he shared the story on reddit, commenters chimed in with similar stories of thieves plans blowing up in their faces.
Perhaps there’s a lesson in it for all of us.