Ten years ago the dumbest car thief ever decided to steal a modified R32 Skyline GTR from an automotive enthusiast when pretending to take the car on a test drive. Although I am very late to this party, the story is just too good to not share.
The story begins with a young 18 year old pretending that he is interested in buying a modified R32 Skyline GTR. The owner at the time, Shaun Ironside, decided to let the kid take it for a test drive without going along. This proved to be a very grave mistake. The thief took the car and never returned. Ironside called the police but without much information to go on it didn’t seem too likely the car would ever be returned. That’s when Ironside turned to the wonderful world of the interwebs.
Iron side posted to an online forum, Beyond.CA, and word quickly spread. The young thief had an easily recognizable physical feature, missing middle and fourth fingers on his hand which the internet coined into the nickname “The Claw.” As word of the stolen GTR spread like wildfire, sightings of the car with The Claw behind the wheel began to roll in. A fellow forum member, James Lynch, spotted the car on the road and after getting The Claw to put his hands up confirmed that it was indeed the car. He snapped a photo of the thief and posted it to the online forum thread in hopes that someone could deliver some internet magic. As The Claw continued to drive the stolen GTR around the Calgary streets challenging people to races, word of the theft spread and millions of hits flooded the forum website as more and more automotive enthusiasts around the world joined the hunt.
After some digging by fellow Beyond.CA members, the Facebook profile of the The Claw was found along with his name, address, and plenty of photos confirming that it was indeed the young man trying to get an 8 finger discount on a GTR. A fellow forum member known as Numi, drove past the location listed as The Claw’s address and spotted the GTR parked in front. Ironside and the police arrived a short while later but were unable to locate the vehicle. After some waiting and searching Ironside called it a night and went home.
The next morning another forum member, Punit Patel, decided to drive past the house and see if he could spot the car. Much to his surprise the car was parked right in front. Patel quickly acted and blocked in the car with his own and promptly called Ironside and the police.
Within the hour The Claw was in cuffs and Ironside was reunited with his GTR. Calgary police charged The Claw aka Jamie Jacobsen (age 18 at the time) with theft and took him away. The arrest was of course caught on camera.
The GTR was returned with only minor damage but thankfully it was all in one piece. Ironside found $22 and Jacobsen’s hat inside the car. The hat was posted for sale online as a joke, with the last known bid being over $250.
Word of the theft and the story of its recovery spread across Canada with the story being featured several times by the local news outlets.
Needless to say the internet worked its wonderful crime solving magic once again and had an epic 24 hours in March of 2008.
Don’t steal cars like an idiot and I’m ten years late to the party.
The original Beyond.CA thread can be found here.