Three people are in police custody after a car was stolen in Winnipeg and the suspected thieves took a selfie and inadvertently sent it to the victim.

Car thefts

Lucille Lavoie received this selfie of three people inside her car after it was stolen in Winnipeg last week. (Lucille Lavoie/Facebook)

Lucille Lavoie parked her car on St. James Street last Friday and hopped out to help her daughter-in-law carry in some groceries.

Lavoie knew it would only take a minute or two so she left the vehicle running, with her cellphone inside.

When she came back, the car and everything in it was gone.

Later that night, when she was back home, Lavoie turned on her computer and found a new photo automatically uploaded from her phone, showing three young people — a girl and two boys — inside her car.

Lucille Lavoie

Lavoie parked her car on St. James Street and hopped out to help her daughter-in-law carry in some groceries. When she came back, the car and everything in it was gone. (Courtesy Lucille Lavoie)

"I clicked on it, and, my goodness, there it was, yeah the three of them," Lavoie said. "She was doing a selfie, I guess, and it caught all three people."

Lavoie said she "felt like it was Christmas" to be handed something that could help investigators locate her car.

She shared the photo on Facebook, and it was quickly shared thousands of times. Lavoie also received help from people who recognized the people in the photo, and she passed on that information to police.

On Thursday night, she received a call from police that three people had been arrested.

Police confirmed the arrests to CBC News on Friday but said the investigation is ongoing and they could not provide more information.

"I just want to see them accountable," said Lavoie.

Lavoie told CBC News late Friday night her car had been located and remains in a tow lot waiting to be examined by police.