Internet helps Silver Lake man recover stolen '73 VW Beetle


Jason Torchinsky, now 41, has had his 1973 Volkswagen Beetle since he was 18. So it kind of sucked when the car was stolen last week. He posted about it Jalopnik, the car website where he's a writer, and the Internet took over. All's well that ends sort of well.

Here's the most incredible thing about today: my prized Beetle has had its eyes gouged out, its hood and decklid battered, it bumpers mangled, roof rack stolen, radio gone, and the entire engine brutally extracted, and all I can think about is how amazingly wonderful people are.

Not all people, mind you. There's at least a few I'm not at all pleased with right now, but they're woefully outnumbered by genuinely good people. Specifically, all of you who helped get the word out, all of you who Tweeted, Facebooked, Reddited, Kinja'd, semaphored, and everything else to get the word out about my stolen mechanical companion. Even more specifically I'd like to mention two Jalopnik readers, Jake and SFmikee.

Before we get into the serious CSI shit that went down here a few hours back, let me recap: my VW Beetle that I've owned over 20 years was stolen, and I've been very publicly crying about it and unashamedly begging for help. After several days of no information at all, today commenter Jake posted four pictures of my car in a run-down-looking neighborhood in Kinja. Yay! But no address. Boo.

It was painful. I could see it right there, and I could tell it was probably within 15 miles of me, but I had no idea exactly where it was — and Jake was no longer answering. Jake even mentioned it in a Reddit thread about my stolen car, but no more news there, either. There's a good reason why, I found out, but at the time it was downright torture. People suspected he was involved or just cruel (he was neither, I'll explain) but the end result was I had no idea how to get to the car.

The ensuing story involves Google Maps and some Internet goodness. Check out How the Internet Found My Stolen Beetle. Here's also a Channel 7 story.

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