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Birmingham woman’s car stolen, used in high speed police chase

Family helps recover woman's stolen car
Published: May. 5, 2022 at 6:11 AM CDT|Updated: May. 5, 2022 at 8:49 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A Birmingham woman visits her hometown this past weekend, only to get her car stolen while eating lunch at a restaurant in Columbus, Georgia.

Gabie McGonegle experienced what many people only see in movies.

“It’s almost like a Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” she said. “Like, who’s been eating my soup, sitting in my chair, sleeping in my bed type of situation!”

Over the weekend, Gabie and her husband went home to Phenix City for a wedding. Between getting out of church and heading back to Birmingham, the two stopped in Columbus at Chef Lee’s Peking Restaurant for lunch. When they left the restaurant to get back in Gabie’s vehicle, it was nowhere to be seen.

“Once I realized that it had been stolen, I just felt violated,” she said. “Honestly, it was a little emotional.”

She immediately told the police, and all day, she says she was on edge.

Gabie decided to post on Facebook, in hopes more eyes could spot the white 2018 Toyota RAV4. Her post was shared over 830 times.

“I had police friends that were like, ‘Hey, it’s picking up in Phenix City, it’s picking up in Columbus, Georgia,’” said Gabie. “My car had been roaming around the city all day long.”

Eventually, it was spotted by another friend at a gas station on Highway 280. When Gabie told the police, officers were posted across the highway.

“Funny enough, my mom pulls out onto the highway just to be posted, looking for it coming it’s way,” she said. “My mom pulls out, and my car drives right in front of her.”

When the police caught up, the RAV4 took off. Gabie says ten officer were involved, going over 120 miles and hour.

“We were told they had to throw spikes, which led to my car running into a guardrail,” she explains. “It spun into a median and all three of the kids that were in the car ditched and took off into the woods across the highway.”

The three suspects involved in the chase were eventually caught. One of them was found by an officer’s K9. Gabie says police believe others were involved in the theft of the vehicle.

Her wallet, two purses, a laptop, and other items were stolen.

Gabie is now warning other drivers to lock their car when they leave it: “I want to trust the people I’m surrounded by... unfortunately, no one can be trusted.”

Luckily, the vehicle was not totaled and will be getting repaired.

While most of her belongings inside were stolen, marijuana and two unregistered firearms were left behind by the suspects. Gabie says she’s glad nobody was seriously hurt.

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