The world’s greatest car thief very nearly made off with a Jeep Grand Cherokee last Thursday night in Sartell, Minnesota.
Alright, the getaway didn’t go quite how 37-year-old Edward Wilson had planned. Stymied by a lack of keys and unable to get the car started, Wilson decided to try trickery to get the owner to restart the car he’d only recently stolen. And he would’ve gotten away with it too his plan wasn’t the dumbest in all of recorded history.
Picture the scene: it’s late Thursday night, and you’re prowling the Walmart parking lot looking for a car to jack. You see a Jeep Grand Cherokee just idling in the parking lot with nobody inside. You think to yourself, “sweet, easy money.” You get in, you get behind the wheel, put it in drive, and make your getaway.
Minutes later, the owner of said Jeep Grand Cherokee exits the Walmart with groceries in tow and finds her reasonably priced SUV gone after having used the auto-start feature to get the engine warm for her arrival. Probably the last time she’ll start the car while still out of sight.
Back in the Cherokee, you’re miles away driving down the highway thinking you’re the proud new owner of a Jeep Grand Cherokee. About an hour later, you pull over for a pit stop, stop the car, get out for a drink, maybe use the restroom, and come back to your fancy new wheels. Only one problem: you don’t have the keys.
Think fast. Idea! You call OnStar and ask to be put in touch with the owner. You impersonate an auto glass repair store and say the owner’s car is ready, but she took the keys with her and you can’t get it out of the store. They say not a problem and put you in touch with the owner.
Back with the victim, she’s busy providing a statement to police when she gets a call. It’s OnStar saying some guy with a glass repair shop is calling about the car and asking if she can give permission to start it remotely. Nevermind the fact it’s 10:30 at night and there’s not a single repair shop in the country that would still be open.
OnStar then puts you on the phone with the woman’s car you just stole. You give her a location where she can pick up her car, which in reality is the place you parked to get a drink, but it’ll have to do as a location to complete the crime. She says she’s on her way, and now all you have to do is wait and mug a middle-aged woman. How hard can that be?
According to the charges filed in Stearns County District Court, very hard. Especially when it's the cops who roll up to find Edward still sitting in the parking lot. According to local news, he admitted to the crime almost immediately, and that it wasn’t a very good idea to begin with.
Wilson is due back in court in April.