Danielle Reno’s car was missing, but she wasn’t going to let the thieves get away.
“I got out of the car for two seconds, grabbed my daughter, and my car was gone.”
At first, she was so shocked that she thought she’d made a mistake:
“Did I park somewhere else? No. I know I parked here. Somebody stole my car! And it was all downhill from there.”
Reno reported the theft to the police, but it didn’t end there. The mom decided to track down the thief and recover her property.
Her phone and wallet had also been in the car. Reno was able to follow the thief by watching the activity on her phone and tracking the purchases on her debit and credit cards. She even reactivated a card to see if the thief would use it.
The mom spent two days on the trail of the thief. She told KCTV:
“We stalked this lady for 48 hours. She had no idea what we were doing.”
That trail led Reno to a gas station, where the attendant told her the thief was planning to eat at Applebees. Reno decided to get there first. She arranged to have people at different Applebees locations around the city. As luck would have it, the thief decided to go the same one Reno was staking out.
The mom was sitting at the restaurant when the thief arrived. She said she “about had a heart attack” when she saw the thief walk through the door holding her wallet and keys.
While the thief was getting food, Reno slipped outside to steal back her car, which the thief had fitted with temporary tags. According to Newsweek, Reno recorded video of herself taking back her car and posted it to Facebook:
“Oh my God, before I call the cops I wanted to show you guys what I just found, by doing our own stalking. At Applebees, and my heart’s racing. I got this bitch’s beer in my car and she’s short, I had to scoot the seat back. I got her cigarettes and whatever kind of drug pipe that is. And I’m about to pull over in a mile down the street and call the cops. But I think I got everything, and she is about to get her ass arrested!”
Reno called the police, then caught the arrest on video. The woman and two men who were arrested still had her credit cards and other property in their possession.
Video 1- “I stole my car back” So after my car was stolen on Tuesday night from Quick Trip off of 152 and North Oak, I filed a police report. We tracked my phone to 169 S and then it was shut off. I watched the surveillance tape but they wouldn’t let me record it so I engraved it in my brain. That night at 1:30am my Unleashed card was used at Taco Bell on Parvin for $14. At 6:32am my Unleashed card was used at BP right by 291 in Independence for $20 for gas. That owner remembered her and let me take a video of the surveillance video. My personal debit was attempted at Walmart.com and declined. I shut off the Unleashed card, my personal debit, and my personal credit card. Last night at 8pm, my phone was turned back on and located in KCMO. We went there and talked to the people who both admitted to seeing my car, knew the color of it, said the person was “just visiting”, and then it got weird. I called the cops but when they got there, the people told them I didn’t know what I was talking about. Long story short, KCPD left. Then today, I decided to turn my credit card back on to see how stupid this girl was. She used my card an hour later at the Conoco/Phillips 66 off 210 and 435 to buy beer, cigarettes, and gas. We drove there and talked to the manager who was actually the one who helped them. He couldn’t show me the surveillance but confirmed it was the same girl and said she had another girl with her. An attendant overheard us and told me she heard the girl say something about going to Applebee’s. I had my sister go to the one in Zona. We went to the one in Gladstone. No sign. We then went to the one in Independence no sign. So we decided to go back to the one in Gladstone and post up. We just had a gut feeling. We order our food and got our waters. Two seconds later, 3 trashy people walk in. I recognized her from the surveillance videos. I was shaking! I grabbed my spare key and went outside and found my car. This video is what happened next. Savannah G-love Dean stayed at the Applebee’s and followed them so we knew where to tell the police they went.
Posted by Danielle Reno on Thursday, July 11, 2019
Unfortunately, the thieves did so much damage to the interior of the car that Reno considers it a loss. The seats were trashed and reportedly smelled foul:
“There’s stuff on the car seat. There’s stuff on the seat. It’s just gross.”
While Reno’s detective work paid off, police generally discourage people from taking the investigation into their own hands. They noted, however, that the mom wisely avoided putting herself in danger while she was looking for the thieves.