TIME Crime

Accidental Car Thief Leaves ‘So So Sorry’ Note for the Mix-Up

“It’s like a bad sitcom"

Earlier this week, a Portland woman believed herself to be the victim of a typical car theft. Surveillance video showed a woman walking up to Hatzi’s parked red Subaru in her driveway, getting in, waiting for a few minutes, and driving off.

But it turned out that the whole theft was really just a mix-up. Within 24 hours, police discovered Erin Hatzi’s car dropped off just a block from where it had gone missing. Inside the car, the driver had left a note and $30 in cash (gas money.) As the note, which Hatzi posted to Facebook, explained, a different red Subaru owner had initially sent a friend the previous night to pick up the car, also parked nearby. The friend mistook Hatzi’s vehicle for the other person’s—and, as older Subaru keys can sometimes be interchangeable, was able to drive off.

In a coincidence of timing, the police happened to be driving by just when the driver was dropping off the car. Running the license plates and realizing it had been reported stolen, they detained the driver, who apologized “profusely” for the mix-up; apparently the other car had been parked a mere ten yards away, Hatzi told People. Everyone’s story has checked out, and the case is now closed.

“It’s insane,” Hatzi told local news station KGW. “It’s like a bad sitcom…nobody would ever buy the story because it’s stupid and it makes no sense. But it happened.”

So all’s well that end’s well for red Subaru owners in Portland this week. Moral of this story: not all car keys are unique. Now we know.

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