'Stolen right out of the driveway': Police say 600 cars are stolen on average each month in the last year

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It's no secret, car thefts continue to plague Portland.

According to Portland Police though, most stolen cars are recovered but as FOX 12 found, it isn't always a happy reunion.

March 5 started like any other day for Patrick Pierce.

"Woke up to take the kids to school," Pierce said.

But when he walked outside, his car was gone.

Pierce's story is a familiar one in Portland where 600 cars are stolen each month on average in the last year, according to data from Portland Police.

"Stolen right out of the driveway," Pierce said.

But most of those cars are recovered and data shows 93 percent to be exact.

"After talking with police and other people who I know had their car stolen, it's like you're going to get your car back, you don't know what condition it's going to be in," Pierce said.

When Pierce did get his car back, three days later, the outside looked fine but the inside was a different scene.

"A ton of food," said Pierce. "Just tons of junk food and like a bottle of brandy."

"I found lots of various drugs and the floors were wet," he continued. "I don't know what they were wet from."

It's a similar story for Sadie Normoyle after she got her stolen car back late last year.

"There were needles in the car, drug needles, and there was a bunch of trash and garbage and just clothes and old food," said Normoyle. "The inside was like really, really gross."

Ryan Masury, owner of Westside Detail in northwest Portland, said his shop alone cleans about three to four stolen cars a month.

"There's all kinds of things in stolen cars," he said. "Usually nothing that's good to be around or safe."

He snapped a picture of a used needle he found in one car he was cleaning.

"We have like a face mask, eye protection, latex gloves, and we go in and very thoroughly and very carefully take things out of the vehicle," he said.

While Normoyle and Pierce's cars are now returned and clean, they both said they don't plan on keeping them.

"I've had a lot of good memories in it and I just like didn't want to be near it," Normoyle said.

"It doesn't feel like mine anymore," Pierce said. "You know I've had this car for seven, eight years, but once I got it back, I just don't feel comfortable in it anymore."

Portland police told FOX 12 it's common to find cars that look like the ones in this story.

If this is the case for you, Masury with Westside Detail, recommends working with your insurance company to have a professional clean it safely.

To read the latest on stolen vehicle statistics published by Portland police visit portlandoregon.gov/police/74369

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