1. Archive

Hoodwinked driver loses car to pair of young thieves

No force was used in the theft of the car Mary Ellen Dykas was driving late Friday night, authorities say. The thieves didn't threaten, coerce or menace her in any way.

What they did use, authorities said, was trickery.

Dykas, 43, of Dade City, stopped at Pat's Food Mart on U.S. 301 after dropping off a friend, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report. She told deputies she stopped because she wanted to check her right taillight, which was out. She was driving a dark blue 1989 Dodge Dynasty, registered to her husband, Pete, 45.

Two juvenile males approached Dykas at 11:26 p.m. in the store's parking lot and asked for a ride home, deputies said.

Dykas agreed, their report said.

"She said she felt sorry for them," a deputy wrote.

When they arrived in the Carver Heights area, at the intersection of Dixie Drive and Center Street, one of the juveniles asked Dykas if she had a quarter so he could call his mother on a pay phone at the corner because it was getting late, the report said.

So Dykas got out of her car to check her pockets for a quarter, she told the deputies.

That apparently was what the thieves expected.

The juvenile sitting in the passenger seat jumped in the driver's seat and drove off, the report said.

Dykas then had to use the pay phone herself _ to call the Sheriff's Office.

Dykas told deputies that she had not met the two juveniles before, and that they "didn't use force or hurt her to get the car and didn't produce weapons," the report said.

Deputies took Dykas home, an alert was issued for the car, and deputies searched the area but did not locate it Friday night or Saturday morning.