Image copyright Cory Harkins Image caption Cory Harkins says cops couldn’t trace Donovan’s VW Jetta to the Middle East.
A thief who pilfered Kevin Donovan’s car was tracked in to a port in Halifax, Canada, where the vehicle was taken to be sold and shipped to the Middle East.
But police couldn’t track the car down to the very country from where it was pilfered.
Mr Donovan, a 63-year-old US citizen, had driven his wife, Roxanne, to Toronto for medical treatment on 30 June when his VW Jetta was stolen.
After their medical expenses were met, Mr Donovan picked up Roxanne the following day, and he continued his route north, past the border.
Image copyright Erkki Ruoslahti Image caption Donovan had been working in Germany
A week later, he received a phone call from a senior officer at the Canadian police forces Traffic Services Unit asking him to retrieve his car.
“I immediately knew we were on the right track because he sounded very sincere,” said Mr Donovan, who has lived in Canada for nine years.
An investigation was launched. Patrol officers chased Donovan’s car, at one point at 50km/h (30mph) above the legal speed limit, through the centre of Toronto.
But nothing seemed to be happening, said Donovan. “If that had been my car I would have put up billboards.”
As he headed home, Donovan spotted his car cruising slowly in a driveway on the opposite side of the city.
“I looked out my window and saw the girl in the driveway with the keys in her hand. She was a polite young woman. She looked very dishevelled. It was very unsettling.”
Image copyright Erkki Ruoslahti Image caption Initially, police didn’t have enough evidence to locate the car.
With the help of a good Samaritan, Donovan said he challenged the girl to a traffic safety race along a busy street. “My race was to find the car,” he recalled.
The second, shorter race ended with the Volkswagen Jetta surrendering, after a few attempts to get it to stop in a cul-de-sac.
Eventually, a spike strip was used to impound the car.
Image copyright Erkki Ruoslahti Image caption Ruoslahti said he was glad the car was intercepted rather than the thieves who took it
Inside the vehicle was Donovan’s briefcase, which contained his passport, bank and credit card information, and several documents from Canada that he had been working on while he was in Germany.
“[I] immediately called my boss at his office. I just thought I was going to be on vacation for a week, and then they stopped in to deliver my paperwork. This was a personal story for me,” he said.
Ultimately, the thieves would not be able to use the car and were caught. But not before they spent 12 hours driving Mr Donovan’s car across Canada.
“They didn’t care. They were driving across the country,” said Mr Donovan.
Police seized the car, and charged the two people in possession of it with possession of stolen property and driving under the influence. They were also charged with flight from police.
Mr Donovan is now planning to sue the Canadian Government.
He says that he feels Canada has done a lot of things to aid drug trafficking across the Pacific, but that the lengths to which people will go to acquire stolen vehicles is not fair.
“It’s astonishing. This car was stopped in a lot of places.”