This is the danger of recovering your stolen vehicle yourself.
On the morning of July 27 multiple shots rang out in the parking lot of South Park Mall in San Antonio, Texas. There were yet another symptom of the growing problem of car theft plaguing many cities, both in America and abroad, as well as indicative of the frustration vehicle owners have been feeling as overwhelmed police fail to help curb the problem. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a car owner track down their stolen ride only to kill the thief who tries to prevent them from taking it back and sadly will likely be a far cry from the last.
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According to San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, who held a press conference after the shootout, the owners tracked their Ford truck to the mall parking lot and find a man sitting in the driver’s seat as well as a woman in the passenger seat. The male owner of the truck drew his gun and ordered both suspects out of the vehicle while police were called.
While waiting for police to arrive, the male suspect pulled a gun out of his waistband and shot the owner of the truck, who then returned fire, killing the suspect. The female suspect was also hit and was in critical condition at a hospital. As for the owner of the truck, he was also taken to the hospital, but his condition wasn’t provided.
One reporter asked Chief McManus if the owner of the truck did the right thing in confronting the suspects and holding them at gunpoint. The Chief noted the man was trying to recover his lawful property and that whether how he did it was “the right thing” would depend on who you ask.
We’ve seen these sorts of situations play out repeatedly as car theft has spun out of control. Sometimes vehicle owners have been killed, other time the thieves or at least the people with the stolen car. Sometimes the thieves get away and sometimes they’re stopped but nobody is killed. What it boils down to is if you go to recover your stolen vehicle, understand it can be an incredibly dangerous situation if the car hasn’t been abandoned.
While some media outlets are spinning this story as a vigilante who wanted to exact his own kind of reckless justice, we can understand why the owner of the truck tried to recover it. Many times police departments have precious few resources to really look for your stolen vehicle, including even if you can provide GPS tracking in real time. We don’t know if truck’s owner had filed a stolen car report or what else he did.
As Chief McManus noted, all information is preliminary, so as detectives dig into the case details might shift. So far, no charges have been filed against the owner of the truck, with police treating what he did as self-defense.
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