My pickup was stolen: what should I do? What should I do if I recover it?

Last Thursday somebody stole my 87 Toyota pickup (why steal such an old car?). When the cops came to investigate they found parked nearby another old Toyota pickup that had been stolen. They searched it for fingerprints and hauled it away. They think thieves are stealing old Toyota pickups, driving them for a few days, switching to another. One stolen from Albuquerque (my town) ended up in Deming NM, about 230 miles away.

Is there anything I can do to make it more likely that I will get it back and sooner?

If the cops find it, especially if they find it in a distant town, can I just ride the bus there and drive it back? Or should I have it towed to a garage to have a mechanic inspect it? I’ve done all the repairs on it over the years; then again most of the tools are in it. I can check the air in the tires, fluids, etc. Should I expect something that I haven’t thought of?

Ask your insurance company what is covered by your policy. If they will tow it to a garage and have it inspected, I’d do that. My daughter’s car was stolen last year and we got it back within an hour (OnStar). She went over, talked to the police, and drove it home.

I highly doubt an 87 Toyota has full coverage insurance. So there’s no theft coverage.

You just need to wait until the authorities find the vehicle. They’ll notify you where the vehicle is located. As long as it wasn’t involved in a crime, they’ll tell you to come and get it. It’s up to you the manner in which you want to get it back home.


When the police find it, they will have it towed to an impound lot. Whether they do an investigation or not on it will depend. When they release it, you can go get it but will need to pay the towing and probably impound fee. There also may be damage to the ignition, etc. Just ask them when they find it. Ain’t no other way to get it back fast unless you go find it yourself. Took a week for my son to get his back and they’d just parked it on the street until one of the homeowners called it in.

A friend had her car stolen a few months ago and what Bing described is accurate. It was an 1997 Accord. In her case it took a week and a half to recover. As soon as the police notify you to pick it up it would be best to do so as soon as possible since each day will add another day of impound fees. You will likely need your license or other acceptable I.D., vehicle registration and proof of insurance. The registered owner must be the one to pick up the vehicle. When all the paperwork is squared away, you (the registered owner) and you alone will be allowed into the lot to see the vehicle. If it isn’t drivable, you can call for a tow truck at that time. It is common for the ignition switch to be damaged. It is typical that the battery (even though it might be old), among other things, will be stolen. Your tools will be history. Procedures could be different in your jurisdiction but this was our experience in Southern California.

Most insurance companies will give up if the car isn’t recovered in a week or so and write it off. If you have appropriate coverage, I hope this happens to you, as often you won’t want it back. At the very least you will likely have a damaged ignition and door locks, and the truck may have been beat to hell and have collision damage. Good luck.

bro had car swiped. took wheels, battery, stereo. we had extra set of summer tires for it and spare battery. they punched out ign cyl. we hot wired it and drove it home.

I didn’t have comprehensive insurance, of course, so my insurance company (liability only) isn’t interested. I told them in case the thieves run into somebody and that person files a claim against me.

The pickup the thieves left behind didn’t look in too bad shape but I have no reason to expect good luck.

I very much want the truck back and am ready to do a lot of work to fix it. I’ve replaced the ignition lock before.

you seem very handy. just drive it home, and assess it there. if it was a joyride, they didn’t do much other than pull out wires and mess with the ignition. once at your home, a quick visual inspection with the vehicle lifted would be good enough. if it runs fine, don’t worry about it.