This accidental car thief might have gotten away with the perfect crime – except the culprit didn’t have any criminal intentions at all.

Erin Hatzi woke up at her home in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday to find her old red Subaru missing from the driveway.

After checking her security footage, she saw the cameras had filmed someone getting into her car and sitting with the engine idling for seven minutes before finally driving away.

Thinking that it was peculiar for a car thief to waste time in the owner’s driveway, Erin filed a police report for her stolen automobile.

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She didn’t have to wait very long, however, when on Wednesday evening, Erin’s husband saw a police officer talking to a woman who had returned the car with a note–and cash– left inside.

The note read: “Hello, So sorry I stole your car. I sent my friend with my key to pick up my red Subaru at 7802 SE Woodstock and she came back with your car. I did not see the car until this morning and I said, ‘That is not my car.’ There is some cash for gas and I more than apologize for the shock and upset this must have caused you. If you need to speak further, with me, I am ______ and my number is _____. So so sorry for this mistake.”

As it turns out, the intended car was parked 10 yards away from the “stolen” car, and older Subaru keys are sometimes interchangeable with other model’s locks, which resulted in the mix-up.

Drive This Story Over To Your Friends: Click To SharePhoto by Erin Hatzi


  1. I worked at a hotel when I was a teenager and something similar happened with two hotel guests who had the same make and model of car (I think it was a Ford Explorer). One guest accidentally “stole” the other’s car, but brought it back once they realized their mistake. I was surprised to learn at that time that keys were sometimes interchangeable.

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