How we got a stolen car back
DISCLAIMER Everything written below is my subjective experience and my personal opinion. I am not writing this post as a guide/guide to action.
I am sharing my experience in a situation with a stolen car and I hope that it will be helpful/interesting for someone.
A week ago in the city of St. Petersburg my family’s car was stolen.
This is a 2014 Nissan Qashqai:
The car has been owned for five years and is usually driven by my mom.
On Thursday evening, July 25, as usual, she parked it in the yard at the entrance of her house on Leninsky Prospekt. At seven o’clock Friday morning the car was already gone.
The car was not insured. About half a year ago we gave up GPS tagging services
This was the first time we came across this situation. We immediately decided to report to the police, called 112, where we were told that we had to personally go to the local police station and report the theft. We went to the station and at 8 a.m. we gave the statement with the following information: place of the theft, time when the car was parked, time when we found the car, special signs of the car. We were given a ticket and told to expect an investigative team at the scene of the theft at 10:30. Mom and my wife left for work.
Important detail: The owner of the car according to the documents is my father, and at the time of the theft he was on a business trip. Mom wrote a statement about the theft.
The investigation team arrived at about 13:00, on the way they had a body somewhere, and priorities in the work were set accordingly. A gazelle with a driver, an investigator on duty and his assistant (?). They took a photo of me pointing the finger to the place of the theft and again questioned me on the same pattern, where it was parked, when it was stolen, what address and so on.
While I was waiting for the SOG, I checked the cameras in the driveway, and it turned out that there were cameras that looked at the parking lot, that is, you could determine the exact time of the theft and the direction in which the car drove away.
I pointed this out to the investigator, he refused to look at the cameras. That was the end of their work, really.
As the on-duty investigator explained to me, the car would be wanted right away, but no one would search for it until a criminal case was opened. The criminal case will be opened only when the car owner, who is not in the country at the moment, reports the theft. And by the law, after the owner’s complaint, the police have 10 days to open a criminal case. You understand, yes?
According to statistics, to find a stolen car has a real chance in the first three days after the theft maximum. After that, the chances are negligible, it is either sawn up or sold somewhere else in the region, if it was stolen to order.
We understood that nobody would steal a Nissan to order, even though it was fully equipped. Therefore, the car is unlikely to have gone somewhere far away and is probably parked in some junk yard or garage, and will be taken away from there soon.
I suggested to the investigator on the spot to “financially stimulate the investigation” in order to speed up the process of searching, to which he replied: “Who do you want to offer incentives? The investigation? Forget what you just said,” and they left.
It became clear that they basically didn’t give a shit.
Next we looked at the driveway cameras and found out that the car had been stolen by a dude who came in on foot at 4:15 in the morning. Unlocked the car right away, got in, started it up. Sat in it for three minutes and drove off. So the alarm just counted somewhere in advance. Mom remembered that a gray Renault followed her around one day, to the O’key parking lot, all clear.
Recorded on a flash drive this footage (separately negotiated with the building manager, he called the service company video surveillance systems and gave his consent). With this flash drive again went to the police.
Also, the owner of the car has a seaman’s passport. This means that by law, the captain of his ship can write powers of attorney on his behalf. Closer to the evening, we got a power of attorney in my mother’s name so that she could file a police report on my father’s behalf. Thus, we hoped that the criminal case will be opened quickly, because now the application from the owner personally is not required. But we were still denied This is illegal, but the police are so shit, unfortunately.
All we got from them – it is a review of city surveillance cameras on duty by the investigator. He looked at three of them and found that the car reached Leninsky Prospekt, and then their authority as if that’s all, finished.
The following picture came out: – the theft report was accepted, the car was put on the wanted list.
– Duty investigator collects materials and give them to the investigator from the department of thefts, which will be assigned only on the fact of a criminal case.
– UD will be opened only after the owner of the car, that is, you don’t know when.
– The on-duty investigator looked at the cameras with one eye, and promised that he would make a request to the search department to track the car through the “Web” network – a federal network of surveillance cameras, which was launched back in 2013 just to combat thefts.
That is, in this case, there is no use waiting for help from the police. Even if you are the owner of the car and you yourself have written a statement, you should take into account that Peter is a city with one of the highest rates of car theft. In a day they steal about 20 cars, and of course, in general, not the fact that they will take up your case in the first place.
At the same time, the police have all the tools for search, but their use is associated with a lot of paper / bureaucratic red tape, takes a long time, which, coupled with the apathy and the load of employees gives no result.
You can count on police help only if you have acquaintances in the authorities, if you are from the system, you are “your own.
We did not have any acquaintances in the agencies. At the same time, on Friday afternoon and before dark, my wife and I set out on our bicycles to comb the Kirovsky and Krasnoselsky neighborhoods. All the yards, parking lots, pockets. Such cars we found only six pieces, but all were not ours.
Also, we joined all the groups like “St. Petersburg thefts”, “St. Petersburg accidents and incidents” and posted a post about the missing car there. Instagrams, reposts from friends, that sort of thing. We didn’t count on it, but we tried to take every chance we could in that situation. Although, looking ahead, I’d say it didn’t accomplish anything, except a couple dozen “Hey baby, I don’t know where your car is, but I know how to brighten up your night tonight” type messages to my wife. Lol.
Nevertheless, there is the experience of acquaintances who were helped by such hype on social media, and attentive citizens noticed their stolen car in one of the yards.
When we returned home, we decided that if we didn’t have “friends” on the police force, we should make them. In my mind, as a layman, there are no former police officers. Where do people leave the police? Civilian company security, security agencies, and private investigators.
Googled “private detective car theft spb”, selected five agencies that did not cause rejection and began to call. The first offered to look at the cameras on the “Web”, 30 thousand rubles, but only on Monday. The second one said no problem, but 15 thousand in advance for expenses and if the search is successful – about 50% of the cost of the car. The third one didn’t answer the phones (Friday evening), the fourth one wasn’t engaged in stealing, the fifth one said that send us the data and we’ll see what we can do – they sent us everything that was there.
Sunday morning was not good, because from the fifth agency came the text message that our car had already been sold to someone and find it in this case can not. It was unclear what to do next, only to continue to pummel the police and hope that someone will take up our case.
But then another text came from the same detective, that the car was found, 99.9%. We called him up and he said that the service would cost 450 thousand. We sign the contract in his office, cash in advance, the car is tonight. I asked him what was in the trunk of the car: “buckets, rags, boots. When I asked to clarify what was in the armrest he said no, saying no one would look at anything and the connection to the thieves was “very thin” and could be broken at any moment.
I decided it was worth the risk. Bought the existence of a permanent office, a license for private investigative work, the contract, as well as records from the TV with an interview with the detective and a bunch of awards from the Interior Ministry for assistance in various cases. It looked good, but to give 450k up front in any case was creepy, and to the last it was unclear whether or not a divorce. Consolation is that the office is in place, it is not just a table and chair, and you can always burn it to hell for example (just kidding).
In short, we agreed and made adjustments to the contract that if the car was not found within 48 hours, the money will be refunded in full. Already in the office, the detective said that in the armrest was a pass for my mom’s job. There was no doubt, the car was ours.
Then stretched out a tedious wait. I said goodbye to the money in advance, I was already ready to lose it for nothing, but still it was very frightening. We handed over the money at 5 pm, and at 10 pm I picked up the phone and heard the address, street and house number. We rushed over there and found it
Someone else’s license plate, just imprinted, right with the needle, which was later confirmed by the forensic expert. The thieves have worked with gloves, no fingers, and they would not have found them, because we climbed all over it, assessing the condition. Nothing broken, everything is intact. There was an old crumpled up license plate in the trunk. We couldn’t find the front one. They stole the jack and the DVR. Brain unit’s been tampered with, reflashed. In the cabin lies a homemade key (the car keyless access). Turns it on, doesn’t work with our keys.
The detective left, we call our police department, tell them we found the car. The fool on the other end of the line said that they were not wanted such a car, and that she does not know what we want from it and asks WE do in this situation. We call 112, they send a patrol unit to us. They arrive in 7 minutes, check the documents, call their police department (the car is in another area), call the SOG.
While we are waiting for the SOG, a green as a virgin leaf officer from our department (2 years out of uni) arrives. He carries with him a folder of documents on our car and from the threshold declares that you have to sign a receipt that we (the police) give you your car. What is it?
It turns out that now the car will be evidence, and in order to drive it, they are as if “found” the car, they hand it over to us. If we don’t give it to them, they will impound it for the period of the investigation.
For 15 minutes we bicker at high tones, trying to explain that we do not need their fucking investigation, that the owner will not write a statement, and that the case will also not be, most likely. And he says, “Well, don’t you want the moral compensation of getting the bad guys caught?” He’s so Batman, I’m laughing)) They signed his paperwork for him, the SOG came. Same green miss investigator and normal guy expert. All the same questions “when the car was stolen, where was it parked, who are you?” etc. All handwritten on a folder, all very long, no one from the tenants of the house questioned, did not do anything short of it, just stitched in a folder where we are all. The expert took the plates, confirmed the absence of fingerprints, looked under the hood, around which we all crowded (me, the investigator, the detective and the expert) and speculated whether our key will start up and whether it somewhere to drive on it. The policemen were vying with each other for advice, and I wanted to put the key deeper into their hands. That was pretty much the end of it.
In the end, we took the car to a paid parking lot. Need service of the officers, we are waiting for an appointment, the car has a crooked brain, it is dangerous to drive it. After that, we will go to traffic police to get new plates. Then the theft insurance is obligatory and a steering column lock.
The best remedy against theft, of course, is the insurance. Everything else is just a delay for the carjacker.
We will not write a statement, we are not going to look for anyone. My principle of life in Russia (always and now especially) – the less interaction with the state in any way, the better.
That’s the way it is, guys. Here’s a picture of a toy ant from the car, who, like us, has been through some shit. Take care.
What to do if your car is stolen
Car theft these days is a frequent occurrence, and there are always plenty of “scenarios” for car thieves. The car can be stolen at night from the yard or from the paid parking lot, from the paid and free parking lots. Scammers are usually well versed in the law, and are familiar with the schemes of the traffic police to search for stolen cars. But are you familiar with them?
Who steals cars, and why?
The theft of vehicles is a very successful and well developed criminal business, in which a lot of people take part: some of them steal the cars, the others dismantle them or sell them to customers. Now, in Russia, the five types of “moving a car without the consent of the owner” are the most popular:
- “Hooligan theft” . Sometimes a car in which you accidentally left the ignition key in the lock can be stolen by ordinary hooligans. This is usually a case of teenagers who have decided to go for a ride or drive to the right place. In such a “theft”, the car will quickly be tracked down by the traffic police. To get it back, you need to report the theft to the DMV (you will need a statement later to confirm the theft to your insurance company).
- “Theft by dismantling” . The car is stolen and dismantled for parts for sale. Usually, cars that are not under supervision are stolen, and the make and model do not matter. It can be difficult to find the vehicle, and the chances of getting it back in one piece are minimal.
- “Theft for resale” . Car makes and models are stolen. After the theft, the car stays in a hidden parking lot for 2-3 days, and then is resold under other numbers. The chance to find the car is – all depends on the experience and efficiency of the traffic police.
- “Theft to order” . Expensive brands of cars are stolen, which are quickly transported to other regions for already ready customers. This is a crime for “professionals” who know how to bypass both security systems and search operations of traffic police. Most likely, it is no longer possible to find the car.
- “Ransomware theft.” Not the most common type of theft, as it falls under the criminal article on extortion, and the perpetrators risk being caught while handing over the ransom.
To what category the theft of your vehicle will be referred to, you can understand only after you run the search process, and the employees of the traffic police will hold a full range of search activities.
Car stolen: what to do?
If you do not find the car in its proper place, start by checking the evacuation service – very often the city authorities send improperly parked cars to impound lots, without warning car owners. Just call 02 or 112 and find out if your car model with a particular license plate number is present at the impound lot.
If there is, you will have to come to the traffic police, get the protocol, pay the fine and take your car back. If not, you need to call your relatives and find out if any of them is driving your car at the moment.
If even after that, the car was not found, then you can start worrying. The faster and more correctly you react to the disappearance of the car, the more chances to find it in the next 24 hours.
Intruders usually drive the car to a “lay-by” near the scene of the theft, realizing that they have no more than 10 minutes until the disappearance is discovered. This means that your quick response will make the search process much easier.
You need to call the police and report the theft.
Your phone call with a verbal statement and a description of the car is grounds for a theft case. In this case, the traffic police launches a standard plan “Interception” and begins to search for a car on the signs you passed. If the car is on the road, finding and stopping it will not be difficult.
Statement to the police
It is advisable for you to appear in person at the police station and write a statement about the theft of the car. The statement should include the circumstances of the situation, detailed registration data and numbers, year of manufacture and mileage, special signs and secret tags, type of anti-theft system, etc. The application should be accompanied by your documents and documents for the car.
If the car is not intercepted at once, it is put on the wanted list, which should last at least 3 days. If necessary, the search can be extended up to 10 days. The police must take the keys and the car’s VIN against a receipt and issue a special ticket, which must be kept for the insurance company. In addition, you are also entitled to request a ruling on the initiation of proceedings and a certificate of the theft for the tax inspection.
Notice to the insurance company
You must notify your insurer within two days of registering the theft of the car. A receipt from the police and a receipt for the seizure of the keys and the vehicle registration certificate are the basis for the insurance company to consider reimbursement of the loss. Within 10 days you will get a resolution on initiation of criminal case on the fact of theft, which should also be presented to the insurer. If the car is not found within the specified 10 days, the case will be reclassified as theft of property, an insurance case will occur, and you can claim compensation.
Important! In your situation, the type of insurance policy matters. KASKO insurance will reimburse you for the full cost of the stolen car. MTPL policy, alas, does not guarantee anything – it is not designed to compensate for your damage.
Do not be fooled by the professional zeal of the police in search of your car. If the car is not found at once, there is very little chance for success in the future. Therefore, active citizens usually undertake a parallel search on their own. What options are available here? If the search is carried out within the first 5-7 days, it is recommended:
- Bypassing artisanal auto mechanics in garages;
- bypassing local car markets and potential yard and garage foreclosures;
- interviewing possible witnesses at the location of the theft;
- involving relatives and acquaintances in the search;
- sticking up ads with a photo and description of the car.
Sometimes surveillance cameras in yards, parking lots and surrounding buildings are useful: there is a chance to get a video of the theft and the names of the criminals.
A great help for the victims of theft is the search communities for stolen cars and volunteer communities on the Internet and social networks. First, you can post an ad there about the theft with photos of the car, second, get information about potential stolen cars in your and the surrounding area, and third, you can ask for help in finding the car – volunteers will help.
A good solution is to contact motorists’ associations, which are willing to connect you to the car search for a financial reward (as participants or intermediaries). The remuneration should be drawn up as material assistance.
Remember, it is important for the police not to find your car, but to catch the criminals to close the criminal case. Therefore, your own search is often more effective.
If offered a ransom
Very rarely honest citizens, who just happened to find a stolen car for ransom, apply for a ransom. Usually it is – scammers, or the hijackers themselves. If you yourself have announced the reward, you can pay the required amount (but remember, extortionists can repeat the scam). Be sure to demand confirmation that the car is in the hands of the extortionists as well (photos, any distinguishing features).
If you are not ready to pay for the extortion, you should contact the police, which will help in catching the crooks. The difference between the financial reward and the ransom you will feel at once on the size of the required amount.
If you have found a car on your own.
If the traffic police will find your car, they will warn you about it. The same should be done by you. You do not need to touch the car or try to open it! The car must first be examined by the police, who then write a protocol of seizure, add it as evidence, and then conduct an expert examination. All procedures can take several months.
In conclusion, it should be noted that car theft is an unpleasant event, but you should not despair and count the losses. It is necessary to quickly connect all legislative resources and conduct an active and consistent search for the car yourself.
After the car theft, you will have about a week to return it in one piece – the intruders are in no hurry to disassemble or sell the vehicle, counting on the fact that the active search of the police will stop within 3 days. Therefore, your correct and consistent search efforts can give a successful result.
Author: Kiselev YL.