After having their car stolen in late March, a Kingston man and his son say they’ve realized there’s a bigger problem at hand.
AJ Good said his son Logan’s car was stolen on March 30, at the time it was not being used as they waited to fix an issue with the brakes.
After filing a police report and flagging the VIN number and plates, both had basically given up hope of seeing the car again.
But last week Good, who runs a landscaping and maintenance business, said he and his son brought some scrap metal from a job to European Speedway Auto Parts and were stunned to see their vehicle sitting right there in the lot.
Good shared images of the car, already stripped for parts when they found it but also with its locks and ignition punched in.
He says he and his son confronted the employee at the desk, who immediately became defensive.
“The overreaction was astounding,” Good said.
He says the employee insisted that they had received the ownership upon sale, but Good said when he showed that the signatures did not match, the employee began to relent.
“Well the people who brought it in here were super sketchy,” Good said, imitating the employee he spoke to.
“We didn’t know what was going on but it’s an older car so we thought nothing of it.”
Good said that answer left him in disbelief, saying the employee’s own description of the salespeople coupled with the state of the vehicle should have set off alarm bells.
“Do you need a neon sign that says it’s stolen?” Good said incredulously.
He called Kingston Police who are investigating, they said the investigation was too fresh to provide comment.
Good alleges that the way the business, and other scrap yards like it, conduct themselves encourages theft.
He says the company operates with a no questions asked policy that is irresponsible and in his eyes, criminal.
European Speedway Auto Parts did not return request for comment.
The car was a 27 year old Toyota Corolla that Good described as being a “unicorn”, in mint condition despite its age.
He purchased the car just over two years ago with only 90,000 kilometres on it for his son, who has been paying that off through his part-time work.
Good says they didn’t have theft insurance on the vehicle, thinking that thieves would likely overlook such an old vehicle, but that the car also carried sentimental value.
“The value in that car is not necessarily monetary,” Good said, also noting however that the car is known for durability.
“The emotional attachment with it being his first car and all that, you can’t put a price on that.”
Now he says they’re determined to make a point of Logan’s loss, saying that there’s an opportunity to shed a light on shady business practices that encourage criminal behaviour.
He says car theft, including recent waves of catalytic converter thefts, are a well known problem but that the focus is in the wrong place.
“I don’t know how this hasn’t been addressed yet,” Good said.
“It’s these companies taking advantage of our most marginalized people and literally making them criminals.”
When Good shared his story on social media, he says several people chimed in with similar experiences in Ontario.
He’s hopeful that while they won’t get their car back, their experience can help put a stop to this on a grander level.