After having her car stolen last Friday, hero Sharlene Tees decided to do the investigating herself and not only did she track her car and get it recovered but she also bravely confronted the man who stole it right under her own very eyes.
The courageous mum of two from Harold Hill spoke to the Havering Daily on Saturday about the horrifying moment her car was stolen as she stopped to put air in her tyre.
She had pulled over as her car felt strange and decided to put air in the tyre in West Dene Drive when she noticed a man standing in front of her.
She told the Havering Daily:
“I thought at first he was going to attack me as he just stood there, and then I realised that I had dropped my keys as I had got out of my car and that he had picked them up. Next thing I knew he winked at me and smiled and drove off in my car with the pump still attached to the tyre”.
Sharlene was left with the image of the thief’s face imprinted in her mind.
“His smile and the way he winked at me haunted me, it was in my mind when I tried to sleep”.
So shaken and upset by the whole event, Sharlene decided to do her own investigating and with the help of the ‘Find my phone’ app she tracked her stolen phone that had been in her car, to its last destination an address in Becontree.
“I found the last address my phone was at and called a friend of mine to come with me and go to this location. When we arrived I saw my car on the drive that now had false plates on but I knew it was my car.
“I called the police straight away and told them the location of my car and that I was sitting outside the property waiting for them to come along. This was just after midnight but I was not prepared to leave my car there, it was my car.
“Whilst I waited for the police to arrive I did a check on the registration plate that was on my car and it came back to a Peugeot, whereas my car is a black Ford Fiesta.
“The police kept me waiting and waiting and telling me they had sent someone but I was not prepared to leave the address until I got my car and my stuff back.
“The neighbours next to the house where my car was parked came out to see what I was doing as I clearly looked odd standing around in the early hours of the morning! So I explained to them what had happened and that it was my car and they were so kind. One agreed to speak to the police and confirmed that he had seen the guy who took my car putting air into the same tyre I had. The others said they would come with me if I wanted to knock on the door and get my stuff back. They really were amazing.
“I informed the police that I had a witness to say he had seen the guy pump up the same tyre as I had, I had done a check on the plates to show that it came up as a Peugeot, I had done most of the police’s job for them but as yet they had still not arrived”.
Not prepared to give up, hero Sharlene was determined to get her car and stolen property back and sat in the van with her friend until 7 am the following morning.
“The police finally arrived just after 7am in a police van and got out to look at my car. They asked me if I was sure that it was my car and I showed them the parking tickets I paid for when I parked in Hilldene that clearly had my registration on it and I could see some of my property still on the back seat.
“They said they were going to get my car taken away, impounded and that I would have to pay £150 to get it back but they weren’t going to knock on the guy’s door as they had to wait for the case officer to arrive.
“I couldn’t believe it, at this stage the guy could have clearly dumped my stuff and jumped over the fence and run away. I wasn’t prepared to give up so I clearly told them that I would knock on the door myself and get my stuff back if they weren’t prepared to do it.
“They left and then the guy came out of his house and started walking so I got out to see if it was definitely him as I remembered his eyes, they were evil, pure black.
“As he walked away I followed him and started saying to him ‘remember me?’ He wouldn’t look at me so I repeated it, ‘remember me?’ He then looked at me and I knew it was him, I recognised his evil eyes.
“He started to say to me ‘I don’t know who you are?’ So I said to him, ‘yes you do, you smiled at me and winked at me, why would you do that?’
Running on adrenaline, and determined to get her property back Sharlene stood her ground.
“I started to say to him give me my stuff back, you have ten minutes to give me my stuff back. He then said ‘okay follow me’ but there was no way I was going to do that, so I waited outside until he came back and gave me my phone back.
“At this stage I was absolutely exhausted but at least my car had been taken away and I had got my phone back. I was still waiting for the police to go in and get him. I had done most of the work for them, I had witness statements from a worker in the launderette shop in Harold Hill that places him at the scene of the crime, his neighbours had seen him put air in the same tyre I had and plus had given me my phone back“.
This morning, Sharlene is still waiting to hear back from the case officer to see if anything has happened.
The brave mum of two stood her ground and was not afraid to confront the thief herself.
“His face haunted me and I was not prepared to let him do that to me, so now my face can haunt him.”