Two true tales from Calgary’s car theft epidemic

It is no secret Calgary is a growing city, and with that growth, comes an increase in crime, including automotive theft.

Calgary vehicle break-ins hit a record high in 2017 with nearly 1,000 car prowlings a month, according to CBC News.

“Over the past year on record, the city has seen an average of 972 vehicle break-ins per month. That’s more than one break-in per hour.”

Calgarians Steve Poffenroth and Sarah Baudais were both victims of the rising car theft epidemic in 2017.

On May 23, 2017, Steve Poffenroth woke up to go to work in his 2009 Ford F-150, just like he would any other day.

“I came out of the house to go to work at 5 a.m. only to find there was someone in my truck trying to start it.

“I ran towards my truck before thinking or realizing what was happening,” he said.

Poffenroth remembers trying to get in to his driver’s side door to pull the thief out.

“I then realized that I couldn’t open the door, as he had broken the handle while breaking in.

“So I went around the front of the truck to get to the passenger side door, when he finally got it started.”

Poffenroth said the driver would’ve run him over had he not jumped out of the way.

“This thief had zero intention to stop the car before hitting me,” he said.

“Luckily, I got out of the way just in time and called 911 to report the incident.”

The police found Poffenroth’s truck six weeks later, but the vehicle had been destroyed.

Insurance covered the damage, but shortly after Poffenroth received his cheque from his agent, he was able to turn a bad situation to a positive and put the money towards a newer, better truck.

“I purchased a used 2014 Ford Raptor I had been dying to have for years.”

Sarah Baudais had her first car theft experience not long after Poffenroth’s.

“It was around 7 a.m. on Aug. 28, 2017 when I realized it was gone,” said Baudais, recalling the day her 1999 Honda Civic was stolen.

“I walked out of my house to my car to head to work, and realized it wasn’t where I had parked it.”

Baudais said she was frantically searching the area in case she had parked her car somewhere else, but after realizing it was stolen, she called the police immediately.

Baudais said her car was found about three weeks later.

The vehicle was found in the Marlborough Wal-Mart parking lot. It was then assessed as a write-off.

“Insurance was very helpful with the entire process.

“They had issued me a rental car for the full three weeks I was without my Civic,” said Baudais.

After her car was deemed as a written-off, Baudais’ insurance company sent her a cheque in a mail for the value of her car.

“The only downside was, as soon as I received the cheque, I had to return my rental car. It left me with very little time to search for a new car in-between.”

Steve Poffenroth poses with his new 2014 Ford Raptor after experiencing his first automotive theft outside of his home in Hilhurst last summer in May 2017. (Photo by Alexa Warren/The Press)
About Alexa Warren 3 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Alexa Warren worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.