1 in 2,392, WMC’s Matt Infield’s car stolen

Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 7:09 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2023 at 7:34 PM CST

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Thursday morning, Matt Infield walked outside near his apartment in Downtown Memphis to find his car has become the latest addition to a growing number of car thefts.

“It was gone,” Infield said.

His first instinct was to look around and make sure his car wasn’t parked somewhere else.

When it was clear his 2016 Hyundai Elantra was stolen, he called police.

Infield said “(MPD) shows up to take a statement, and as I’m talking to a cop, there’s a group of guys across the street. one of them yells at me and goes ‘Did your car get stolen?’ I said yes. They’re like ‘What kind of car is it?’ I said it’s a 2016 Hyundai Elantra. They’re all like ‘Of course.’”

According to Memphis Police, Infield’s car is now one of 2,392 vehicles that have been stolen this year, already, in Memphis.

This time last year, MPD said, that number hadn’t reached a thousand yet, 969.

What’s more concerning is the number of vehicles stolen from is at 1,624 this year.

That means people are having an easier time stealing the cars themselves rather than what’s inside them.

Fortunately for Infield, his car was found by MPD in Raleigh Thursday afternoon.

“They told me that the steering column was broken. The passenger side front window was broken, which I guess that’s how they got into the car, and they ran the car out of gas. When I left it last, it had like 130 miles left on it, so they definitely took it for a nice joy ride,” said Infield.

We’ve reached out to Memphis Police for numbers on how many of the 2,392 cars have been found and returned to owners but have not gotten that number yet.

For Infield, he said he’s not able to get his car until next week.

“Because I couldn’t go get it right then and there, they had to take it to the city impound lot,” he said.

The city’s impound lot has had capacity problems for months, and is at a breaking point.

Wait times are hours long.

However, Infield says waiting the time and paying the fine is better than the alternative of trying to find a new car.

If the car is salvageable, Infield said he’s getting a steering wheel lock.

“I’m not parking on the street anymore,” he said. “I’ve got a garage.”

We reached out to the City of Memphis Friday to get an update on what the city’s plan is to address the problems at the impound lot.

Two options were floated to city council on Tuesday, either purchase a second property to be used for stolen vehicles or outsource the tow and storage of stolen vehicles to private companies.

MPD Chief CJ Davis agreed that this would alleviate some of the pressure being seen at the lot.

We have yet to hear back from the city on an update.

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