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Woman uses cell phone to pester car thief’s family until car is returned

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After their car was stolen, a Joliet couple reportedly used their cell phone to get it back the next day.

Lindsey Ryan said the theft occurred as her husband, Mike, was returning a table and chairs that had been rented for Easter dinner.

Crest Hill Police Chief Dwayne Wilkerson said Ryan pulled off into the 1200 block of Rock Run Drive to close the tailgate.

“He leaves the vehicle running and approached the door. He noticed someone near the vehicle out of the corner of his eye and watched someone drive off with the car,” Wilkerson said.

Police reports indicate Ryan’s cell phone was inside the Pathfinder.

He ran to a nearby relative’s house and called Crest Hill police to report the stolen vehicle.

“When he told me, the first thing out of my mouth was ‘Oh, my God. It won’t be around to bring home the new baby.'”

Lindsey Ryan is six-months pregnant with the couple’s third child, a boy. They have 8-year-old and 2-year-old daughters.

“It was the first new car we bought as a couple,” Ryan said. “It’s a sentimental thing. It’s what we brought our new puppy in. That Pathfinder took us to Florida and it’s the vehicle we’ve used to bring each of our children home from the hospital.”

“On the way home [Mike] was saying we have to report that cell stolen so he can’t use it and run up a big bill,” Ryan said. “I said “No way. Let him use it [so] we can track him via phone records.'”

The victims checked their wireless account online and allegedly noticed the phone had been used recently.

“I clicked on call details and there it was! He was calling all his friends and family members,” Lindsey Ryan said.

Wilkerson said the victims called police around 8:45 p.m. to report the phone was being used.

Ryan said she began a reverse search of those numbers online, obtaining addresses for landlines and began calling those numbers.

“I called [what turned out to be the suspect’s] godmother asking if she had seen a man with a green Nissan Pathfinder today,” she said. “I learned the [suspect] was no man but a 14-year-old boy [who] told his godmother his aunt let him borrow her SUV. She gave me his name.”

Early Tuesday morning, the Ryans spent several hours going to the addresses they had identified before returning home to get some sleep. After taking their daughter to school, Lindsey Ryan decided to call the cell phone numbers that had been dialed on her husband’s phone.

“There was one number that I didn’t have an address to that was plaguing me because I knew in my heart that whoever owned that cell knew where that 14-year-old boy was and knew where my Pathfinder was,” she said.

Over the next three hours, she allegedly called that cell phone number 38 times until a man answered with an angry “Hello.” Ryan identified herself and said she was looking for the boy who had stolen her car.

“I said ‘Your number is on my husband’s cell records 18 times. I know you know where my Pathfinder is and where the boy who stole it is,'” she told him. “If you don’t tell me you will be charged as a accomplice in this auto theft.”

The 20-year-old man reportedly said, “Miss, I’ll call you back in five minutes.”

Instead, the suspect himself called a few minutes later.

“I asked him where my Pathfinder was. He said “You’re a crazy [expletive] for calling us 38 times [and] keeping us up all night. You can have your car back,'” Ryan said.

Read more: Thief to victim: ‘You can have your car back’


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  1. […] Woman uses cell phone to pester car thiefs family until car is returned […]

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