A pizza delivery driver in St. John's hopes an old lottery ticket will help find the thieves who stole his car in the middle of a snowstorm.
Josh Cook was out in his own vehicle delivering pizzas late Friday night, when he was called to a home in the Springdale Street area.
"Who steals a car and leaves it with more gas than it was found with?" - Josh Cook
Because of the storm, he left his car running in the middle of the road with the emergency indicators on while he went inside an apartment building to deliver the pizza.
That's when he heard the engine rev, and ran back just in time to see his car speed off down the street.
"I ran down over the stairs to take a look, and I just see my car flying up the road, at which point I realized my cell phone was in the car," he told the St. John's Morning Show on Tuesday.
Not much help
Cook spent the next several minutes frantically trying to get help from people in the building, but got nowhere. So, with the pizza still in his delivery bag, he decided to trudge up Springdale Street — in the storm — to St. Clare's Hospital, where he called the police.
"They were a little dumbfounded, because you don't expect to get your car stolen in the middle of a blizzard," he said.
Cook added that the staff at St. Clare's helped relieve the sting of having his car stolen by actually buying the pizza he had with him, and even threw in a $15 tip.
"That was one of the good things that happened out of it; it put a couple extra bucks in my pocket," he said.
Car returned to same spot
Thinking he may never see his car again, Cook thought his job as a pizza delivery driver was over.
Then the next night, a friend of the family just happened to be driving down Springdale Street when he spotted Cook's vehicle — in almost the exact same spot where it was stolen.
"The car was left in the middle of the road, literally 10 feet out from the curb from where it was taken, in front of the house where it was stolen from," he said.
"The hazard lights were on, there was no keys and they left one CD in the car ... It was a good one too, a copy of Pride and Glory, early Zakk Wylde album, really good album actually."
When Cook arrived with a spare key, he didn't see any noticeable damage to the vehicle. However, when he started the car and moved it he realized the suspension, transmission and the exhaust had all been badly damaged. Perhaps most surprisingly, there was actually a full tank of gas as well.
"That's the part that kind of surprises me, like who steals a car and leaves it with more gas than it was found with?" he said.
In addition to the gas, Cook also found two items in his car that weren't there before; a small shovel in the back seat and a scratched, losing lottery ticket. He is hopeful that the ticket may help lead to who took his car that night.
"A couple of friends of mine who work in convenience stores told me that lotto tickets can be traced back to where they were purchased," he said. "I'm hoping that will lead to something."
Cook said it looks like the car will be written off, and isn't holding out much hope that insurance money will cover his losses.
He said it all comes at a terrible time as he is struggling to make ends meet while caring for his mother who is on disability.
Cook knows how wild and unbelievable the story may sound to people, but sadly for him it actually happened.
"I haven't worked in the last few days, I don't have a car in the driveway," he said.
"This is absolutely real."