“How funny is that?” asked Boatwright, who says she has no idea who the thief is. “Somebody steals my car and then decides it’s not good enough and returns it? That’s a first for me.”
And a first for the Brentwood Police Department as well. When an officer arrived at Boatwright’s home to take her report, she admits to being flummoxed. “The officer looked at me and said, ‘I hope this isn’t a joke,’” said Boatwright. “And I thought, ‘What is he talking about?’ It turns out my car was parked on the backside of my house on a side street. The thief had taken it and then decided he didn’t want it, I guess, and brought it back.”
Proving that even thieves can be thoughtful, the robber, who had snuck into Boatwright’s house the night before and kyped her key ring, removed the car key and left it on a rock in her driveway along with her emergency roadside kit, presumably after he brought back the car.
But mystery doesn’t end there.
While the officer was taking Boatwright’s statement, her neighbor came over and said her car had been stolen, too. The officer initially thought it was just a coincidence that two cars had been stolen on the same street, but when the Toyota Camry was later recovered a few miles away, the suspect was found standing by the white Camry with Boatwright’s house keys in his pocket.
Another case of silly criminals caught in the act?
“Yes, this is definitely one of those stories,” said Sgt. Sergio Verbis. “We get those occasionally. But all’s well that ends well, and that’s how we like them.”
The 28-year-old suspect was booked into the county jail in Martinez, where he remains on two counts of grand theft, possession of stolen items and burglary.
Why the thief returned her Ford and swapped it for the neighbor’s Toyota is likely to remain a secret, but as for Boatwright, she’s just happy to have her car back safe and sound.
“I’m guessing that he liked the Camry better than my old Mustang,” said Boatwright of her 13-year-old car. “It is kind of beat up, there’s no stereo, the engine light goes on all the time, and top is taped and torn, so I guess he decided to dump it for something better. I didn’t know that thieves were so picky. But that’s OK. I’m just glad to have it back; it’s the only car I’ve got.”