Nissan Sentra
Nissan Sentra Nissan

A Canadian woman has accidentally “stolen” a car when she mistook it for her rented vehicle. Police in Cornwall, Ontario, have reminded the community not to leave their key fobs inside their vehicles to prevent such thing from happening.

Last week, Cornwall Community Police Service (CCPS) related on Facebook a “happy ending to a complicated car rental” story, wherein an elderly woman inadvertently stole a car that she thought was her rental. In late June, she rented a black Nissan Sentra in Cornwall and proceeded to drive it to a Walmart to do some shopping. She returned to the parking lot and got into a black vehicle and drove home.

Unknown to her, a man who also parked his vehicle at Walmart was aghast to find his black Infiniti QX50 missing. He called CCPS to report his car stolen.

Infiniti QX50
Infiniti QX50 Infiniti

Two weeks later, the woman returned the black car to the car rental company. She complained to the manager that the vehicle’s inside was unkept; there was even a set of golf clubs in it. The manager was confused as she had returned a different vehicle. When the manager asked her where she went after leaving the car rental, the woman proceeded to inform him of her activities. He asked her to go to Walmart with him to help him piece the puzzle together.

Upon arrival, the woman pointed to the manager where she parked the car, and in it parked a black Nissan Sentra, the one that she had rented. The two returned to the car rental company and contacted the police, explaining to them what had occurred.

“Both the car rental company and the Infinity owner retrieved their vehicles and there was a happy, funning ending to this story!” the Cornwall Police wrote. “However, the moral of the story is this….PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR KEY FOBS IN YOUR VEHICLE WHEN NOT BEING OPERATED, YOU NEVER KNOW WHO MIGHT TAKE IT!” [sic]

It added, “Folks, we just can’t make this stuff up!”

In an interview with Canada’s “As It Happens” (via CBC). Constable Tommy MacKay further explained how the switcheroo happened. According to him, the woman did not have any trouble starting the 2015 Infiniti QX50 vehicle that she thought was the sedan that she rented because both cars use a key fob that doesn’t require a key to start the car. The owner of the Infiniti, an elderly man, had accidentally left his key fob in the vehicle, inadvertently allowing the woman to drive off with his vehicle.

The man came to the same rental car company after realising his own car was stolen in the Walmart parking lot. In conversation with the car company’s manager, it emerged that he was the owner of the stolen black Infinity. When the woman tried to return the “stolen” vehicle, the manager got an inkling of what happened. His suspicion was proved correct when they saw the rental car in the parking lot of Walmart later.

MacKay said he has never experienced anything like this case in his 11 years of being a police officer. He was glad it had a happy ending, though.

The woman didn’t face any charges but was a “bit embarrassed” by the incident. The man whose car was accidentally stolen also “had a good chuckle.”