A Missouri woman took matters into her own hands and played detective for 48 hours to get her car back after it was stolen from a gas station.
Danielle Reno was at a gas station in Kansas City, Mo. on Tuesday when she turned away for “ten seconds” and realized her car was gone.
“I was meeting my mom at QuickTrip to pick up my daughter,” Reno explains to Yahoo Lifestyle. “I was probably ten or fifteen feet away from my car when it happened.”
The woman reached out to the Kansas City Police Department to report the incident but said “they weren’t very helpful.”
“They may have been doing an investigation of their own, but they didn’t contact me. They just acted annoyed,” she said.
So Reno decided to launch her own search. She began by trying to track her iPhone, which she had left in the car, but realized it had been switched off on the side of a highway. She was ultimately able to locate the car because the alleged thief started using her credit cards, which she had left in the car as well. She followed the spending trail, which started first at a Taco Bell, and then a gas station.
Reno says she watched the surveillance footage at the gas station and then searched the area for her car, but she only got her next lead when her phone was turned on and pinged at an address.
“We went and talked to the people at the address, and they were real shady people. They admitted they had seen my car,” she says. “We called the police and the police talked to them, but when they did, the people denied ever telling me that and acted like I was crazy.”
Luckily for Reno, she says that when she woke up on Wednesday, she noticed that her card had been used at another gas station. She drove there, where an employee told her that she overheard the person — a woman who they were now able to visually identify — say she was going to Applebee’s later that day.
Reno, her sister and her friends split up across local Applebee’s and were finally able to track down the woman.
“When she sat down, I went outside — I had a spare key, and got in my car,” she tells to Yahoo Lifestyle.
In a Facebook Live video, Reno records what happened next. She drove her car “a mile down the street” from the Applebee’s and called 911, while her sister waited in the restaurant to watch the alleged car thief’s movements.
According to Reno, the suspect was identified as Lindsey Custer, 27. She was arrested by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
While the Clay County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment, a record on its website indicates that Custer was arrested on Friday for tampering with a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property. She is currently in custody at the Clay County Jail and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday afternoon.
However, Reno says she was unhappy with these charges and plans on following the case to see the final verdict.
“She will have fraud charges from using my cards, too,” she says. “She spent small amounts — $68 on my personal card, and on my business card $20 at a gas station and $14 at Taco Bell.”
She adds that she believes the woman stole her car with the intent to drive around and live in it, and says she is homeless.
The Kansas City Police Department did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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