Let's say you're a thief looking to steal a car. You probably don't want to be seen, so you wouldn't want to commit the crime in broad daylight. And competent reporters are usually on the lookout for unusual things, so stealing a car from a newspaper's parking lot might be a bad idea. And since you can't drive a stick shift, you'll swipe an automatic. Right?
Not if you're this hotshot wannabe bandit in Barton.
About 3:30 p.m., Assistant Editor Natalie Hormilla Gordon arrived for her evening shift job and noticed a young man in a hooded sweatshirt sitting in Paul Lefebvre’s car, holding the steering wheel.
She did not recognize him, thought it was odd, and when she went inside, she told Mr. Lefebvre, who went outside to take a look. By then the car was being driven from the scene, badly. It’s a Honda CRV with standard shift, and the driver was stalling as he made his getaway, down Water Street and north on Route 5, as Mr. Lefebvre watched.
Since Lefebvre's editor got a pretty good look at the guy, the suspect wasn't long for the chase. It also helps that newspapers have, you know, pretty large local followings who can keep an eye out for these things. The Chronicle's staffers put word out on Facebook about the theft, and sure enough, the stolen vehicle was located in Orleans a few hours later.