Police locate car that was stolen while homeowner warmed it up

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April Lay’s phone rang at 1 a.m. Wednesday. It was Indianapolis Metropolitan Police with good news.  Lay’s stolen car had been found less than three miles from the apartment she shares with her husband, three children and mother-in-law.

Then came the bad news.

“Unfortunately, at that point, it was locked,” Lay said.  “And I have no keys considering I was kind of stupid and left them in the vehicle with it running.”

Whoever took the car had left it parked and locked at Dubarry Park, near 38th Street and Post Road.

With no spare key and no way to get into the car, it was towed to Last Chance Wrecker on South Belmont Avenue.  It wasn’t until about 11 hours later that Lay’s husband, Chris, was able to use a slim jim tool to get a door open.

“The only thing I was afraid of was to show up and my car look like this one over here,” Chris Riehl said, pointing to a wrecked vehicle.  “Or any one of the other wrecked cars.”

But their 2005 White Pontiac Grand Prix wasn’t wrecked.  It wasn’t damaged at all.  There seemed to be nothing wrong with it.  The only thing missing from inside the car was Lay’s phone charger.  A $50 Colts hat was still in the back seat, and thousands of dollars in home remodeling equipment were still in the trunk.

“That’s the number one thing, short of my car, that I was worried about,” Riehl said.  Because without the tools I can’t take care of my family.”

“I really think it was more of just a joyride,” said Lay.

But it was an expensive joyride for the couple.  They expected to spend $150 to recover their car from the impound lot.  They would likely spend hundreds more on new locks, keys and ignition for the car.  And new locks and keys for their apartment, since the thieves could have those now.

While they are very thankful to have their car back, Lay and Riehl said they are frustrated by the hassle the whole ordeal has turned out to be.  They’re also frustrated with themselves for leaving the car running outside their apartment to warm up Tuesday morning.  They hope others will see their story and take a lesson from it.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there was no information on possible suspects in the case.

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