Calgary woman’s stolen vehicle quickly recovered thanks to viral Facebook post

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WATCH: A Calgary women's stolen vehicle was recovered thanks to a viral Facebook post. Melissa Gilligan has details – Sep 23, 2016

A Calgary woman is thanking Facebook members for helping to find her stolen vehicle.

Jennifer Allen woke up on Wednesday morning to find someone had entered her Mahogany Lake home while she and her two children slept, stealing a laptop, her purse and her husband’s briefcase. Also missing was Allen’s BMW which had been parked out front.

“We called police right away,” Allen said, saying officers arrived at their home at around 6:45 a.m.

After speaking with police and her insurance company, Allen took to Facebook to share a picture of her vehicle – along with her licence plate number.

The post was shared over 500 times, and posted to the South Calgary Super Auction (SCSA) – a private Facebook group with over 19,000 members – by several people.

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“It was pretty amazing to see the outpour of support,” Allen said. “Each person that’s sharing it – that’s extra eyes that are seeing it.”

It was one of Allen’s fellow auction site members, Barb Copley, who spotted the vehicle at around noon.

“I had looked on Facebook, checking out the auction site for good deals [while] on my coffee break that morning,” Copley said. “It stuck with me because she lives in Mahogany Lake and I live in Auburn Bay – we’re side by side.”

Copley said she found the whole incident concerning.

“It’s kind of a scary thing,” she said. “The fact that they were so brave to enter her home, steal her purse and her keys and her car that was parked out front.”

Copley said the story stuck with her, including the first three letters of Allen’s licence plate.

Then, while filling up her vehicle at a gas station on her lunch break at around noon, Copley spotted the stolen BMW.

She took a picture of the vehicle and called 911 to let police know she had seen it. Although police advised her not to, Copley followed the vehicle from the community of Royal Oak to near McMahon Stadium, until she was told the HAWCS helicopter had spotted the BMW.

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“It’s not like they were driving recklessly or speeding, because I certainly wouldn’t have followed then,” Copley said.

Calgary woman’s stolen vehicle quickly recovered thanks to viral Facebook post - image

Allen said police were able to take two people into custody in the community of Kensington. She said based on what police told her – and some items she later found in her recovered vehicle – it appears they may have been taking illegal drugs.

As an additions councilor, Allen said she has no ill will towards them.

“I hope they get some help,” Allen said.

Allen admits the front door of her home wasn’t locked when the theft occurred, and said the whole thing has taught her a valuable lesson.

“These are crimes of opportunity. I will take full responsibility that we left the door open  … we live in a nice little neighbourhood and obviously had a bit too much trust.”

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Police said Justin Colby, 24, has been charged with break and enter, possession of a prohibited weapon and two breaches of recognizance. An adult female was also taken into custody.

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