In what might be the quintessential Portland-area crime, a woman accidentally stole a Subaru that was identical to the one she was supposed to borrow and later returned it with a polite note apologizing and $30 for gas.
Erin Hatzi told People that her husband first noticed her car was missing Tuesday evening.
“He got back and he asked, ‘Hey, where’d you park you car?’ and I said, ‘It’s in the driveway,’ ” she said. “And he was like, ‘No, it’s not.’ ”
After determining that her husband was not pranking her, the couple reviewed security footage of their driveway. “We watched this woman like walk behind the car and then kind of look at it,” Hatzi said. “She was texting, and then she went over to the driver side door and she was texting, and then she got in the car and she was texting. She started it, and then she sent a couple more texts. And then she pulled out of the driveway and took off.”
When Hatzi and her husband filed a police report, they learned from the Portland police department that older Subarus sometimes have identical keys, which explained why the would-be car thief seemed so nonchalant during the crime. “It didn’t make very much sense why a thief would spend 10 minutes hanging around the car they were about to steal in front of somebody’s house,” Hatzi said. “It just didn’t make any sense.”
The next day, the Hatzis noticed police lights outside their house, where a patrol car had parked behind their missing red Subaru. “They just happened to show up at the same time the woman was dropping it back off at my house,” Hatzi said. “[The woman] pulled up in front of my house, locked it and started to walk away.”
As police questioned the woman, Hatzi’s husband inspected the car for damage and found a note inside.
“Hello, so sorry I stole your car,” the note read. “I sent my friend with my key to pick up my red Subaru at [a nearby home], and she came back with your car. I did not see the car until this morning and I said, ‘That is not my car.’ There is some cash for gas and I more than apologize for the shock and upset this must have caused you.”
The woman/accidental thief, who’d been trying to pick up a car for a friend recovering from surgery, was released after the responding officer located the second red Subaru and watched the couple’s security footage. “It’s a very Portland thing to have happened, especially with a Subaru,” Hatzi told People, adding that her husband has since purchased a club for the car’s steering wheel.