How I Drive: A Good Samaritan Finds Her Stolen Car with the Metromile App

Jenna M., a Metromile customer of 3 years from Chicago, IL.

Jenna M. is the cousin we all want to have. She moved to Chicago from San Francisco about five years ago for a new job, and coincidentally, so did her cousin. When her cousin fell ill recently, she did a grocery run for him. As she quickly ran the groceries to his door, thieves moved even faster and stole her car. Here’s how Jenna used the Metromile app to help the police find her car within just a few hours.

How long have you been a Metromile customer?

I’ve had Metromile for a while; this is my third year. I work downtown in the Loop, and I don’t drive to work. A friend of mine told me all about Metromile—she was using it—so I looked into it, and I couldn’t believe it. I thought I should definitely do this.

When you say you don’t drive, how often do you drive?

I probably drive a total of 20 miles a week. I use my car on the weekends to go to the grocery store and Target because I live in the city. The more and more I learned about Metromile, I thought, I’m getting this right now!

Recently, you had your car stolen. Can you share how it happened?

It was 7:30 at night, and I‘m dropping off two loads of groceries for a cousin who lives alone in a high-rise. There was no one around, so I pulled my car up to the loading zone in front. My car was off, and I had my keys with me in my pocket, along with my phone. I had to make two trips because it was just me. I make one trip, come back down, and my car is still there, flashers still on. I wasn’t having any contact with him, so it was very quick. On the way back up on my second trip, I had sent my cousin a text “OK, coming back up,” so he could buzz me in. It had been four minutes from the time that I sent the text to the time that I had got back down to the lobby, and my car was gone.

That’s terrible! What did you do next?

I just couldn’t believe it. I came out and was just standing out on the curb. It didn’t even cross my mind that it got stolen. It just didn’t occur to me.

I call the non-emergency number: “I’m just helping out my sick cousin right now, and you towed my car!” The dispatcher told me the city of Chicago is not towing any vehicles right now. The minute she told me that, it just occurred to me: I’m going to pull up my Metromile app! I have “Find my iPhone,” basically, for my car.

What did you find on the Metromile app?

I just sat on my couch all night with my husband watching my car traveling all over the South Side. I see my car just floating down Lake Shore Drive, heading south, south, south! And I couldn’t believe it. It was a very surreal moment. Is this happening to me right now?

I immediately called the cops and explained that I thought my car was stolen. I have a device in it that’s associated with my car insurance, and I know exactly where it is. They were all so surprised. I had to explain what a Pulse was and everything. The police officer said, “Oh, that’s cool!”

Because I knew where it was, they told me: keep watching it. They would send a cop to the last location.

Where did the car go?

I just sat on my couch all night with my husband watching my car traveling all over. They were deep in the South Side of Chicago. The cops told me they’re joyriding, but eventually, they’ll ditch it. I’m just refreshing and pulling the app up. The app shows your gas usage, so I figured once my gas would run out, they would ditch my car.

My car got stolen at around 7:45 p.m. When I started the night, my gas was at 60%, and at this point four hours later, it was at 10%. Finally, the car had stopped moving, and they had turned around close to where they stole it from me. Then, they parked it. It had been stopped for about 15 minutes, and I called the cops right back. At 1 in the morning, I went and retrieved my car. The cops sat there and waited for me. They did a thorough search and helped me disinfect the whole thing, which was nice because of what we’re dealing with right now.

Did anything happen to your car?

I got really lucky. They didn’t do anything to do it. They stole a bunch of things—all my groceries and my daughter’s car seat. I was just glad to have my car back! I guess they just took it for a joyride.