Victim: 'Joke's over; Where's my car?'

Norwalk isn't the trusting place it used to be, man learns.
Cary Ashby
Jan 3, 2014


The new car owner learned a tough lesson this week: Norwalk isn't the trusting place it used to be.

The Ferris Lane resident had his car stolen Monday -- in the three minutes it took to go inside and pick up the pizza he ordered.

"It's disgruntling to grow up in this town and have this happen," said the 36-year-old man, who was born and raised in Norwalk.

The good news is the victim's newly purchased car was recovered without any damage the following morning.

The car, a 2012 Chevrolet Impala, had about a quarter-tank of gas at Pizza Hut.

"It's almost on empty now," the victim said Tuesday afternoon.

"I bought the car two months ago. I paid cash for it. I was so upset," said the man, who described the four-door sedan as a "regular old car" with no special interest to criminals.

Now that he's been victimized, he said he wants residents to realize the rise in criminal activity in Norwalk is "more than people realize."

The tale of theft and recovery started Monday night after the man went to Pizza Hut to pick up an order he had made via the Internet.

He remembered that workers told him not arrive before 7:09 p.m. He looked at the clock before entering the Milan Avenue restaurant.

"I wanted to make sure I wasn't early. ... I got out of my car at 7:12. I signed my receipt for my debit card transaction at 7:15 and walked out," he said.

The man had parked the Impala by the front door, which is designated for pick-up orders.

"If I hadn't found a place by the front door, I wouldn't have left it running," he said.

Upon discovering his car gone, the man said he thought someone he knew saw him inside Pizza Hut and played a prank by moving his vehicle.

"I thought, 'Joke's over. Where's my car?,'" he said about his first thoughts. "I thought somebody played a joke on me."

The man went back inside and asked someone to call 9-1-1.

"Everybody looked at me like I was crazy," he said.

A woman was behind the man in line, also ready to pick up a pizza. She told him her husband was waiting in their car and recommended they ask him if he saw anything.

The husband said "a very large male entered the car," but he didn't look suspicious or look around before getting in, the victim said. The witness wasn't able to say which direction the culprit went on Milan Avenue.

"He didn't pull out fast or anything," the car owner said. "After we talked to (the husband), I realized it was stolen."

By the time the victim re-entered Pizza Hut, the Norwalk Police Department was on the way.

"It was a very quick response," said the victim, who was complimentary of Officer Dave Daniels.

"He was very nice to us. He was very sympathetic. You could tell he didn't know what to say because he felt horrible," the man said.

The Impala has OnStar capabilities, but authorities learned the tracking system couldn't be used unless there was a subscription.

"When we called, they said there's nothing we can do for you," the man said.

Another strategy was to have the victim's cell phone company "ping" nearby towers. However, he said the company told him they couldn't do that because it wasn't a "life or death" situation.

Police recovered the car at the Key Estates Mobile Home Park. Officers called him about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

"It was at an abandoned trailer," the car owner said. "There was nothing wrong with it."

Inside the center console at the time of the theft were some McDonald's gift cards, cell phone chargers and change.

The man's cell phone was on the front seat. It was recovered later between Hammer Huber and Cashland at the intersection of Gallup and Milan avenues -- just down the road from Pizza Hut.

"He must have thrown it out the window and it landed in the grass," said the man, who assumes the suspect didn't want to be traced via the phone.

Daniels speculated the suspect must have been casing Pizza Hut in the hopes of grabbing a delivery person's car, the man said.

"I just happened to pull up and he grabbed it. It wouldn't have happened that fast otherwise," he added.

Police also suspect the culprit used the car to reach a drug transaction.

"He (Daniels) thinks they went on a drug run," the victim said. "It was used from Point A to Point B and left where somebody could find it with the keys in it."

Given what happened, the victim hopes other people who live in the Maple City will learn from his mistake.

"Don't leave your keys in your car running -- even in Norwalk," he said. "Obviously, it's a different place than it used to be. Don't take anything for granted."



So, guy leaves his car running in the parking lot while he goes inside a store and it's the community's fault? How about some personal responsibility for a dumb action on his part? No, this isn't Mayberry (Where I bet even Andy knew not to leave his car running, unattended) but it is a pretty darn good place to live compared to many other cities even in this and the adjoining counties. Kudos to Officer Daniels for his hard work.


Really? are you that stupid? the whole point of the story was to point out that Norwalk isnt the same place it used to be, not to point blame on anyone like you want to. Back in the day this city used to not have these problems you could leave your car unlocked, your house unlocked and not think twice about it, sadly this has changed and I myself wouldnt do either of those nowadays.


@downtown: Perhaps it's time to stop romanticizing the past and drink a tiny dose of reality. Norwalk is a great place to live, albeit with faults. Maybe at one point you could've left your house unlocked, but never your car running in a parking lot. That's simply irresponsible. Grow up Peter Pan.


wll said truck stp


Any kid can get in and really hurt themselves or others as well. It's not just common sense for theft.


Umm yea ok...try using your 6th grade english skills this time (oh im sorry did you even make it to 6th grade?) and reread what I posted, did I once mention it was a good idea to leave your car running in a parking lot? I simply stated that things have changed in Norwalk and its not the same place it used to be. So how bout you read things fully and make sure you can comprehend what someone is saying before you make a stupid remark that only makes you look even more idiotic.But from reading most of your posts on other stories...thats not that hard for you to do at all.

JMOP's picture

This dude better count his blessings that his car was still good. The insurance company wouldn't pay a dime because he had "keys in car".
I bet he'll never do that again.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

No amount of 'cash' can buy common sense. Dude, where's my car?


Norwalk ISN'T a safe place and hasn't been for awhile. People just need to wake up. My mother was shopping at Kmart and upon leaving the store around 5pm or so she was mugged. They took her purse and she only had $20 in it. You have to be aware of your surroundings at all times. A few years have passed since then but now we (my family) never go it alone and we don't carry a purse ect...


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained A duplicate post.


Re: "I wouldn't have left it running,"

Agree. Norwalk isn't the same place it used to be.

Residents used to be smarter.

Remember: Lock your doors, take your keys.


So let me get this straight, the guy parks by the door right next to the DRIVE THRU window where you can pick up the order without ever leaving your car? Oh well, you can't fix stupid.




double like


Can't fix stupid !! he should of recieved a ticket under Ohio law .Anyone who leaves a running vehicle unattended, even if he or she is just stepping away while it warms up, can be charged with a misdemeanor and a $150 fine for omitting to stop the engine, lock the ignition, and remove the keys (emergency vehicles exempt)

Señor Clown

Can you point me to this in the Ohio Revised Code? The dealership never informed me that I would be committing a misdemeanor offense by using my factory-option remote start; the same remote start that I use to leave my car running, take the keys out, lock the doors, and go in to pick up my pizza while avoiding these inconveniences.

It's cold out. If you leave your keys in a running vehicle, sooner or later someone will figure out that it's more pleasant to take your car than to walk for miles in the cold and snow.

Edit: ORC 4511.661 - Guess I'm a terrible person too. Although it adds that you must also effectively set the parking brake, which out of 500 cars in the mall parking lot, I'm sure the parking brake isn't set on 480 of them. At the end of the day, I guess we're all criminals.


Another word of warning:

When fueling a vehicle, take the keys OUT of the ignition and pocket them.

I've heard a few horror stories. One involved a loaded U-Haul truck (he also didn't take the insurance on the vehicle).

Cliff Cannon

Even in dark hours,the light of goodness tends to shine through, doesn't it ?

To wit: " By the time the victim re-entered Pizza Hut, the Norwalk Police Department was on the way.

"It was a very quick response," said the victim, who was complimentary of Officer Dave Daniels.

"He was very nice to us. He was very sympathetic. You could tell he didn't know what to say because he felt horrible," the man said

Thankfully, once again, we see just exactly what a great police department we have here in Norwalk


Re: "great police department"


But seriously Pizza Hut?

Remember: Any "pizza" outside of Chicago is just ketchup on a cracker. :)

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango:
"But seriously Pizza Hut? " : They are just a bit better than 'ketchup on a cracker'. Still, point, definitely acknowledged.


@cliff....what happened with T.O. and u? I take a brief sojourn to Colo. and return to find more oooops and uh..ohhs. What can we do to help our boy? call if u want.. Oh, and Norwalk people...please turn off vehicles, remove keys, and lock doors. Yes, this is Norwalk, our law enforcement personnel work hard, but hey...we have to take some responsibility too ya know??!!


If the car is running and it has four wheels... criminals have an interest.

Simple. Turn it off and take your keys with you and yes, he should have been ticketed for leaving the vehicle running .


Maybe I'm not a very trusting person but I have NEVER left my car running in a public place. Sounds to me that this man won't ever do it again either! Glad he got his car back :)


What a shame our country is turning into. Someone takes something that isn't theirs and people are blaming the owner. What ever happened to honesty? What happened to morals? Yes, maybe times have changed and NO ONE can be trusted. A week or so ago, I saw a young person (10 or 11) walking in the pouring rain. Without thinking I stopped and offered her a ride. She refused. Afterwards I thought "what a stupid thing to have done". She could have reported me to the police. A lot of us "trusting" people have to stop trusting and start thinking like a criminal.


inquiring, you bring up an interesting point. I myself won't approach, engage in conversation, or be alone with anyone under age. The days of talking to kids in public (without their parents present with them)- is long gone.


Yust watch the series bonnie and clyde think this has been around a while


I'm with KnuckleDragger!! Stupid cannot be fixed!!

Why would you NOT use the PICK UP WINDOW to pick up your food order?? What about security cameras?? They just rennovated that place, surely they installed a system to protect their property or employees at the window?? Wake up Norwalk, this is not the same place we grew up in, times and people have changed. If you leave your car keys in the car running or not, it may get stolen in most cities at some point, he is lucky they found the car, or was it planned all along?? Hmmmmm???


Hide yo kids, hide yo wife, hide yo husbant. He said he remembers the workers tellin him "not to get there before 7:09."? I thought "be ready in 15-20 mins" was pizza lingo. Got this pizzashit down to a science. Gunna be that way have John Wayne answer the phone.


Hide yo kids, hide yo wife, hide yo husband- they stealin' ca's down in no-walk! LOL


starts in middle school,kids take any bike they want then ditch it,cops and school administrators care less