A San Francisco man’s car was stolen and he went to Reddit for help, where it was found in just a few hours.
“I thought it’d be pointless to post it, but on the other hand, I really wanted to find my car,” Sebastiaan de With told the San Francisco Gate.
De With had just bought the 1991 Land Rover Defender in Texas before driving it home to San Francisco and hadn’t yet bought coverage for the vehicle – meaning he wouldn’t even be able to get a claim payout.
“So it being gone meant I had absolutely nothing,” he said.
After de With filed a police report, he decided to also to try his luck by publishing a post on Reddit. The post was short and simple. Along with a side-view photo of the boxy vehicle, he wrote, “Stolen: My white Land Rover Defender 90. If you see it, please contact me.”
Moments later, Reddit user ableezus said he saw it just a few days earlier in front of a Jake’s Steaks restaurant and it was because of those Texas plates that he remembered it so “vividly.” He’s from Texas and his father had the same type of vehicle.
“It was across the restaurant and noticed a couple of guys working on it,” ableezus wrote. “They were under the rover. I figured it must’ve broken down and just thought oh man, I don’t miss that.”
Another Reddit user happened to be at that same restaurant when he saw the post and took action. “I am in front of the car now,” wrote RealLycos. “It’s on 3322 Buchanan. I’ve called the police and am taking pics.”
The speed and efficiency of the Reddit sleuths took de With by surprise.
“My heart suddenly started beating in my throat,” he said. “I jumped on the bike and roared down there and met him. Sure enough, that was it.”
FOUND. Thanks to eagle eyed Twitter and Reddit users the car was found and recovered. You’re all wonderful! 💙 pic.twitter.com/ZbeGGkV4NL
— Sebastiaan de With (@sdw) November 28, 2017
The Land Rover had some damage on it, including broken rear brakes and a damaged ignition column, but nothing that can’t be fixed.
Ableezus, whose real name is Pablo Delarosa, told the San Francisco Gate he was also taken aback by how quickly the vehicle was found.
“I would have thought it would have been sitting on a container ship somewhere,” he said. “The power of social media is crazy.