Car thief’s getaway runs out of gas

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A hapless car thief in northern Norway stole a convertible and then called the car’s owner, Anne Kristin Korsfur, from a mobile phone he found in the car 15 minutes later to ask where he might also find the fuel card. Korsfur found the man on the side of the road and offered to “help” him, keeping the thief chatting for 20 minutes until the police arrived.

Korsfur first saw the man when he checked into her partner Johnny Henriksen’s guest house in Sørkjosen, Troms County on Monday night, reported newspaper Nordlys. Henriksen said the “helpful, chatty and polite” young man cleared his breakfast dishes away, then helped himself to the keys to the couple’s Saab convertible.

Korsfur said she was surprised to receive a call at work from the mobile phone the couple kept in the car. The man explained that the tank was empty, and he needed to know where the diesel card was kept. She called Henriksen, who realized the car was missing and rang the police. Realizing the thief couldn’t have gotten far, Korsfur set out to look for him.

When she found the car by the roadside, she pulled over and offered to “help.” The man did not recognize Korsfur and asked if she could help him get to a petrol station or get hold of some fuel. “He was wearing the reflective vest, had set out the warning triangle, and done everything according to the book,” she said. “He had also taken out the vehicle registration and instruction booklet to familiarize himself with the car’s functions.”

Korsfur asked the man how he liked the car, and he replied it was his dream car but the tyres were a little wide. He wasn’t sure what the horsepower was, because he’d gotten it so recently he hadn’t managed to try it out properly yet. Korsfur told Nordlys it was bizarre chatting with the man for 20 minutes about her own car, and the thief said he was “overwhelmed by her helpfulness.”

“The situation was so relaxed that I was not the least bit afraid,” said Korsfur. “Instead, I felt sorry for the young man, for he could not have known what he was really doing. The chatter was at times so precious, I was about to crack up with laughter. I really had to pull myself together to keep the mask up.” He introduced himself as Johnny Henriksen, Korsfur’s own partner.

The police finally arrived and arrested the thief, but Korsfur said she can’t find it in herself to be angry. “He was a nice guy, after all, but it was good the police came so quickly and got hold of him,” she said. “I’ve got a really good story to tell, and I’ll never yell at my husband because he always waits to refuel the car. Sometimes you may want to start the day with an empty tank.”

newsinenglish.no/Emily Woodgate