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Facebook group tracks down stolen car


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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — At the Ikea in Draper, the people standing around in the parking lot aren't discussing furniture. Once a week, members of the "Utah Association of Euros" gather.

"We just nerd out and talk about cars," said Brandon Christiansen, who helped start the car-loving group about seven years ago.

"Everybody kind of gets together and tells stories," he said.

On social media, the group grew to about 850 members. When a new member in Orem needed some help, he called out.

"A couple of neighbors heard my car start up and drive off," said Michael Hager, speaking of a thief taking off in his beloved red Volkswagen.

The group of European auto fanatics hit the road, fueled by their shared hobby.

"We just started searching for the car," said Christiansen. "Creating a grid and looking for the car in parking lots."

For three days, members of the social media group turned car detectives began spotting it around the Salt Lake Valley.

"He took off and got away," said Hager. "He hid somewhere."

Each time they spotted the thief, the group posted pictures to their Facebook page.

"Who drives a stolen car?" asked Christiansen. "Usually it's going to a chop shop — this guy was just cruising it."

As their grid search narrowed, one of the group's members spotted the stolen ride.

"I just barely caught a glimpse of it," said Corbin Hunter. "It shot down the road really quick."

They found the car ditched on the side of the road in South Salt Lake.

"This is incredible," said Hager. "It's been an amazing thing. It's much, much more than I expected."

Hager says Orem Police are now following up on leads, including surveillance video from a McDonalds drive-thru the suspect reportedly used.

Now, at next week's gathering, Christiansen and the rest of the warriors on wheels will have quite the story to tell.


Ashley Kewish


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