One man discovered the “power of social media” after his prized possession was stolen.
Sebastiaan de With and his wife were heading out to pick up a Christmas tree last Friday when the couple realized his rare Land Rover was missing from its spot in a parking garage, according to SFGate.
The freelance photographer and designer bought the 1991 Land Rover D90 in Texas in September, driving it all the way back to San Francisco. Its loss was devastating.
“They’re extremely hard cars to find in the U.S., and I was waiting on an appraiser to come around to get full coverage, full-value insurance,” de With told SFGate. “So it being gone meant I had absolutely nothing, not even a claim payout.”
He filed a police report, but wanted to do more. So he posted to Twitter and Facebook on Monday asking fellow San Franciscans to watch for the car.
Then he went a step further, posting it to Reddit.
Reddit user Pablo Delarosa replied to the post on Tuesday, saying, “I saw it this past weekend!”
It stood out due to the Texas plates, said Delarosa, who’s from Houston but recently moved to San Francisco. He gave the exact location where he’d spotted it, adding that a few guys had been working on the vehicle.
“I figured it must’ve broken down and just thought oh man, I don’t miss that. (My dad had a rover),” Delarosa said in the post.
Later Tuesday, another Reddit user, Nick Ghirardelli, responded, saying he was standing in front of the car. He gave the address.
“I’ve called the police and am taking pics,” he said.
De With hopped on his bike and headed to the site – finding the car in rough shape.
“Car recovered and towed to the shop to get its many now-broken things fixed. Thanks a TON!” he posted on Reddit.
Police arrived later to conduct an investigation.
Those involved in the Reddit thread and the search expressed surprise, relief and joy at the Land Rover’s recovery.
“I would have thought it would have been sitting on a container ship somewhere,” Delarosa told SFGate. “The power of social media is crazy.”