ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – It’s home, sweet home for Paul Wade and his Cadillac CTS-V.
“Man, super excited. It was such a relieving feeling,” said Wade, recalling the moment he learned his stolen car was recovered.
The strange homecoming all began with a crime on Wednesday morning near 87th and Cornell in Odessa. A person caught on security camera hopped into Paul’s car in the middle of the night, and took off. A spare key was left in the car. That began a frantic search, with Paul posting on social media and filing a report to police.
In 24 hours, the car was back in his driveway. So how did that happen?
“What led to the arrest was when we responded to the forgery in progress,” said Cpl. Steve LeSueur of Odessa Police Department.
Police say one suspect tried cashing a bad check at Kwik Kash on Andrews Highway. Paul says a worker at that business is a mutual friend of his. She grew suspicious after the check for $1,200 — with Paul’s company name on it — was handed over.
“We were able to alert the cops to come and pick him up,” Wade said.
Police say the responding officer grew even more suspicious while on scene.
“He was able to locate stolen property in that vehicle, which led to other stolen property being located,” Cpl. LeSueur said.
“The moment they called me, I requested an Uber to get over there as fast as possible,” Wade said.
Paul got there in time to take a photo of one of the suspects: 38-year-old Mario Marcus Costa Jr., now charged with forgery. But Paul’s Cadillac wasn’t there.
Paul says the suspect told police everything, including the whereabouts of his car.
Odessa Police excuted a search warrant, which took them to a small neighborhood off Yukon and N. County Road West. What they found was even bigger: Paul’s car, his checkbook and golf clubs. But also, stolen property belonging to other people from thefts on Paul’s street, Cornell Avenue. Police say drugs were seized, too.
“Laptops, tax information, clubs, you name it, the guys had everything there in the house,” Wade said.
45-year-old Christopher Giles Jr. was also arrested. More charges are expected for the burglary duo, according to Odessa Police.
“I also want to remind people out there, please avoid leaving keys, spare keys inside your vehicle and other valuable items. Because that’s what really contributes to a lot of these vehicles being stolen, and other burglaries,” Cpl. LeSueur said.
Odessa Police say a vast majority of auto thefts start with leaving behind a spare key.
“It was definitely a learning experience, always lock your car, beware of your surroundings,” Wade said.
But here’s the thing. Paul’s appreciative of the police work. He’s finally able to put the brakes on an upsetting few days.
“Y’all were really steadfast on finding the guys, thorough in investigating the crimes,” Wade said.
“We never give up on our cases,” Cpl. LeSueur said.