Vancouver woman finds stolen SUV thanks to observant citizen

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 5:33 PM PDT
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VANCOUVER, Wash. (KPTV) - Kristy Regas said she didn’t feel great about her chances of getting her GMC Yukon back after it was stolen from her Vancouver apartment complex parking lot.

“To have it stolen out of here, and not a lot of vehicles are stolen out of here, was a shock,” Regas said. “What’s going on right now, it’s unfortunate that it happened to us.”

Recent statistics from the Vancouver Police Department show just how big the problem is.

VPD took just over 800 reports of stolen cars in 2019, more than 1,200 in 2020 and then over 2,100 last year.

Through April 30, there has been an over 100% increase in stolen car reports since the same time period last year.

Regas said her husband sees cars that have been dumped on Marine Drive everyday driving to work in Troutdale.

“It’s sad because all these people are never going to get their car back or when they are, they’re going to be stripped or gone through or just busted up,” she said.

Regas’ SUV was stolen the last week of April.

Just a day-and-a-half later, she got a message from someone who recognized the pictures posted of her car on Facebook. He told her the Yukon was sitting near Northeast Sandy Boulevard and Northeast 118th Avenue in Portland.

“When I contacted the guy, it seemed kind of different,” Regas said. “But when he sent pictures, I knew exactly it was mine. I was just happy, happy, happy knowing it was my vehicle and there was someone by it.”

She immediately went the scene to confirm it was hers.

“Turning on the alarm, because that’s what I did, (I) turned on the alarm and I was so excited,” she said. “I can’t walk because I had surgery and I jumped out of my friend’s truck and just sat in the driver’s seat. It was so good to know that I’m back in my vehicle.”

The man who led Regas back to her SUV didn’t want to be identified. He said this is something he spends time doing around Portland by trying to match pictures on Facebook with stolen cars.

Regas wants him to know how grateful she is to him.

“You’re a person that everybody needs to know that you’re out there, you’re helping other people,” she said. “You need to be recognized that we appreciate all the help you’re doing to help us out as well as all these other people out.”

Regas said she later found her catalytic converter was stolen. She also needs to replace the ignition, but she’s fortunate there’s no other major damage. She said that all happened because she was able to get her vehicle back so quickly.