Missing: Toyota MR2

Red car in parking garage

Garage Theft Auto

‚ÄčKen’s road story starts long before he joined the LendingTree Autos team as the director of technology architecture. It was an average weekday morning and Ken started the day as per his usual routine. He drove to his old company office, pulled into his spot on the second floor of the parking garage and walked into the building. But nothing could prepare him for what would — or wouldn’t — be waiting for him when he returned.

By 5:00 p. m., Ken left the office with car keys in hand. His head was finally starting to clear after hours of staring at his computer screen, and he couldn’t wait to get home. In a few minutes he would be cruising down the freeway with the windows down — but his daydreams screeched to a halt when he arrived at his empty parking space.

“I was completely stunned,” Ken recalled. “I even had to walk up and down both levels of the garage to be sure I wasn’t going crazy.” But after inspecting every square inch of the parking structure, Ken confirmed his worst fear: The beloved Toyota MR2 was gone.

In a panic, Ken ran to the nearest security guard and explained the situation. A police report was filed, stating that the car had been stolen, but Ken was told he would have to pay for a rental car until his car was recovered. 

Of course, the only vehicle available was stained with rust, had no carpet on the floorboards and reeked of oil. It didn’t quite compare to his sporty MR2.

A few days later, Ken got the call he had been waiting for — his car had been found. Thrilled to get back behind the wheel of his MR2 and relieved to get rid of the clunky rental, Ken headed straight to the crime scene.

But what he found there wasn’t cause for celebration. His car was completely ripped apart. All the wheels had been removed, the radio had been pulled out of the dash — it was even missing the driver’s and passenger’s seats. 

“It was so sad-looking when we found it — sitting up on cement blocks with all the parts missing. You know, it’s your car. You can’t help but feel bad about it,” Ken said.

The criminals had also stolen his sunroof, just in time for a rain storm. Between the moldy carpet and the gutted interior, Ken expected that his car was past the point of no return. No insurance company could possibly pay to repair all this damage. But Ken was in for yet another surprise. 

“Apparently after my insurance company balanced the numbers, it was just barely cheaper to repair the car than to write a check for a new one.” So Ken’s 4-year-old car got restored with “comparably aged parts” including worn seats and an outdated stereo. Even the ash tray was used!

“I’ll admit they did a decent job of fixing it up, but it was never quite the same after that,” Ken recalled.

The only consolation to Ken’s car fiasco? Security cameras were added to the parking structure the following week. At least the car thieves wouldn’t drive off with Ken’s MR2 again (although this time he might not have minded).

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