Gone in ‘less than 10 seconds:’ Running Jeep swiped from driveway as woman tried to load dogs

Kimberly Stangel

WAUWATOSA -- A Wauwatosa woman watched as thieves stole her vehicle from her driveway Wednesday, March 7. She was just feet away when it happened, and said it took just seconds. Thanks to some quick work by the vehicle's owner and police, her vehicle was recovered hours later.

Kimberly Stangel said she was leaving for work and trying to get her dogs into her car near 65th and Meinecke. Within seconds, someone else was behind the wheel, taking off down the block.

"I had loaded up my car with all my things to go to work," Stangel said.

She started the car and went inside to get her dogs. She's a social worker, and planned to bring them to work for pet therapy with clients.

"I mean, we're talking less than 10 seconds," Stangel said.

A dark sedan pulled up behind her Jeep and a man jumped out and hopped into the driver's seat.

"I was screaming. I was screaming, hoping one of my neighbors would hear and call 911," Stangel said.

With her vehicle already running, she said she believes the thieves were watching her from afar.

"My car took off going south right through the stop sign on Meinecke and 65th and the getaway driver in, what I think was a Honda Civic, took off going north on 65th. I'm already aware of my surroundings at all times and paying attention. It's not like I'm not being mindful of that," Stangel said.

Stangel said her dogs were safe after this, but her purse, cellphones and work laptop were stolen along with her car. The getaway car sped away before she could get a license plate number. A neighbor called police and Stangel filed a report right away.

"It's very bothersome. I think it's sad. I'm just going to hope for the best and hope the people who did this get the help they need so they don't do it again," Stangel said.

Stangel's vehicle is a black 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited.

Wednesday afternoon, Stangel's cellphone pinged to a home near 40th and Meinecke. Police investigated in the area, but didn't find her vehicle.

Stangel said she then hired a service to track her Jeep using its GPS system and it was located near 40th and Meinecke Wednesday night. FOX6 confirmed that information with Wauwatosa police, and they say the vehicle has been recovered.