You may have done it a thousand times. Stolen a car, picked up a police tail and then hidden in an tunnel or under a bridge to confuse the cops and get rid of those annoying flashing stars. All that in a video game, of course. But one California car thief used those same Grand Theft Auto tactics in real life and now the police have absolutely no idea where he is.
The Rockstar-style caper began on Tuesday when a Rolls-Royce Phantom was stolen in Los Angeles, the city on which GTA V’s fictional Los Santos is based. The owner was able to track the car remotely and inform the California Highway Patrol, who by Wednesday morning had located the luxury sedan and began chasing it.
ABC7 reports that the LAPD later joined the pursuit, but due to the thief’s erratic driving and the cops’ fears that a high-speed chase could lead to the injury of innocent bystanders, the ground-pursuit teams hung back while the CHP helicopter tracked the car’s progress. Footage shows the Rolls avoiding freeway gridlock by driving quickly on smaller roads, cutting corners and doing a generally good job of handling the Phantom’s considerable bulk.
But then the thief pulled his disappearing act by heading into a parking garage near the L.A. Grand Hotel. The helicopter could no longer keep tabs on the Rolls’ movements, and because the ground cops had pulled so far back, they weren’t able to take up the slack. Presumably the phantom Phantom snatcher simply parked up and strolled away, a bit like Ryan Gosling does after a heist in the movie Drive. The weird thing is that the cops didn’t only lose the thief, but the Rolls, too. According to reports the 19-ft (5.8 m) limo hadn’t been located yesterday.
It’s not like we condone car crime – if you’ve ever had your car pinched or broken into you know how much it sucks – but you have to take your hat off to whoever was behind the wheel of the Rolls, who now has a great story to tell. He better be careful who he tells it to though, or those cops might still catch up with him, and this time all five stars will be lit.