A Calgary couple has been left without their truck and keys—and without a clue as to why someone would steal their vehicle twice in one day.
Sunday got off to a bad start for Jade and Jesse Stephens. First they found out their van—which had been parked outside their Queensland home—had been broken into. After they returned from a quick shopping trip at around 12:30 p.m., they realized their Dodge Ram 2500 was missing.
“It was just unreal,” Jesse said on Monday at his Queensland home. “I couldn’t believe that somebody actually took it. And then I thought that somebody obviously watched us and waited for us to leave and drove away in the truck.”
Making matters worse, the truck was stolen with a set of keys the culprit swiped earlier from breaking into their van.
During the afternoon, the couple went out to have the locks changed on their home and detached garage to prevent any further break-ins.
At around 8 p.m., a neighbour alerted Jesse that he saw brake lights in the alley. The two men rushed out to see what was going on, only to discover that the truck has been returned but it looked like someone was still in it. Jesse immediately called the police, who told him to stay inside.
“The lady at dispatch kept me on the line the whole time and said, ‘Don’t go out there because it could be dangerous.’ They sent seven units and the helicopter was flying around and they sent a canine unit out here and they searched the truck and there was nobody in it,” Jesse said.
Police said sometime Sunday afternoon, the truck was used in a gas theft at the Shell station on Bonaventure Drive. The truck was returned with a full tank of gas.
Just when things couldn’t get any stranger for Jesse and Jade, their truck went missing again that night.
Under an hour from when police had been at the home to investigate the return of the truck, the couple looked outside and saw it was gone again.
“Jesse called his friend to see if his friend could park a vehicle in front of the truck so it couldn’t be moved and then he called the locksmith,” Jade said. “So that was about 15 minutes he was inside and he came back out and the truck was gone again.”
“I couldn’t believe that it was actually gone,” Jesse added.
Calgary police officers told a Global News crew in the city’s southeast that the truck had been recovered Tuesday morning.
The situation has been frightening for the family, with all their keys missing and the fear of who is watching their movements so closely.
"I was terrified. We didn’t sleep a wink last night. We’ve been up all night…and if somebody is that brave to come steal a truck in broad daylight, driving around Calgary and steal gas, come back again and come back again at eight o’clock at night not even two in the morning when everyone’s asleep,” Jade said.
A Calgary police spokesman confirmed the Stephens’ account of their ordeal.
Investigators are now looking at CCTV images taken from the Shell station to help track down whoever was driving the Dodge at the time.
“The police showed us a picture of a woman gassing up. They said, ‘Do you know this woman? Because she did a gas-and-go.’”
“The officer said, ‘This is strange. They brought your truck back and left with a full tank of gas,’” said Jesse, who added he did not recognize the woman in the picture.
The theft is weighing heavily on Jesse’s mind. His family experienced a tragic loss last year because of a stolen vehicle. Jesse’s uncle Keith Morley was killed in 2016 when he was driving on 37 Street S.W.
“It kind of hits home because he (Morley) was heading to work from Turner Valley,” Jesse said. “There was a stolen truck that went in the wrong lane and it ran right into him and killed him.
“So I was worried all night and I’m hoping my truck is not out there stolen somewhere and is going to end up running into somebody and hurting somebody.”
Watch below from February 2016: The family of Keith Morley identified the 53-year-old as the victim of a deadly hit-and-run. Tony Tighe reports.
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