When a thief stole Danielle Reno's Toyota 4Runner, Reno didn't sit by the phone waiting for word on recovery. Reno told ABC7 in Kansas City that she'd stopped at a local QuikTrip gas station to get her daughter, and in the few moments she was away from the 4Runner, someone hopped in and stole it. (Yes, Reno had left the truck running, but this isn't unusual in the hot Midwest.) The thief got away with Reno's purse, cellphone, wallet and credit cards. Reno was left with a call to the police and a date with a police report.
Reno enlisted her sister's help, and said later, "We tracked this lady literally for 48 hours." She had turned off her credit cards, then turned at least one of them back on, suspecting the thief would use it. Then Reno started tracking the card usage as the perps bought goods at Taco Bell, Walmart and gas stations, and she also tracked her cellphone's location. Two days after the theft, one of the credit cards was run at another QuikTrip. Reno hoofed it down to the gas station, where the clerk told her that one of the women in the vehicle said they'd be going to Applebee's for dinner.
Reno and her sister staked out the local Applebee's. Having seen surveillance footage of the theft and other stops the suspect had made, Reno recognized when the woman who stole the 4Runner happened to walk in — carrying Reno's keys and wallet. Reno then walked to her 4Runner and used her other set of keys to get in and drive off, taping a Facebook video to celebrate her efforts. She called the Clay County Sheriff's Office, and deputies arrived to arrest a trio of women at a nearby store. Reno took video of the arrest, recording the alleged ringleader walking out of the store with a pair of Reno's shoes in her hands.
Although the hunt was a success, the 4Runner looks like a write-off. In just two days, the people who stole it had trashed the interior, leaving what police said were probably bodily fluids in the seats, "an awful smell inside," and breaking the back hatch so that it won't open. Reno has insurance, so if this isn't a totally happy ending, then it's happy enough. Sheriffs even told Reno she could keep the beer the thieves left in her child's car seat.
But even though Reno didn't entirely put herself in harm's way, police said they don't recommend the turnabout-is-fair-play approach to crime solving.