KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A female boxer fought back after her car was stolen, using social media to track down the ring of accused thieves and confronting them in their own front yard.
Amateur boxer Brooklyn Harvey said she couldn’t believe her eyes when she walked out of the Independence Events Center the day before a big match.
“I walk out and I can’t find my car,” she recalled. “And I’m like, come on. I know I get punched in the head, but I know that I parked here.”
Sure enough her car –and everything in it – was gone.
“I was so mad,” she said. “Because here I am, I went to nursing school. I have massive student loan debt. I had just worked enough shifts to get some of my new boxing gear, and I’d been really saving up for my applications and stuff for school.”
All her new boxing gear was stolen, along with her ID, school books and letters of recommendation for her applications to CRNA School.
“It really rocked everything,” she said. “This has really been pretty altering for me because my application deadline had come up, and I wasn't able to get everything completed that I needed.”
Fast forward to the next day, and her stolen car popped up in a Kansas City, Mo., police chase that ended in a wreck at the intersection of Wayne Avenue and 33rd Street. Two people were arrested, but the driver got away.
“In the car, it was just trashed,” she said. “There were needles, just trash everywhere. It looked like a tool kit they had used to open up cars.”
But her beloved boxing gear was nowhere to be found. Police told her they wouldn’t be dusting for fingerprints and could not obtain a search warrant for the home of those arrested.
“I was a little frustrated,” she said. “I was like really, my '96 Honda? It’s my cheap ride so I can pay for my school and pay my bills, and then you wrecked it. It really wasn't fair.”
She took her frustration to the Internet, where she posted about the ordeal on the Stolen KC Facebook page and started an investigation of her own.
“I got some leads on who was in my car and I just started working it,” she said. “I started connecting. I went back to social media, started looking at timelines from the interactions of this person with other people.”
Her digging eventually helped her pinpoint the group of people allegedly involved.
“I had tipped the police off,” Harvey said, “and I just kept watching social media. I used Stolen KC and I kind of blasted some of the people that were involved. Nobody wants to be looked at as a suspect or a criminal, and nobody wants the things that they're doing wrong to be public.”
It was that public shaming on Facebook that surprisingly resulted in one of the suspects admitting his involvement in the crime.
“I have apologized for my wrongdoing against Brooklyn Harvey,” one man posted on Stolen KC’s page. “And I am currently working to get her stuff back to her. So everyone give me some time.”
With Facebook pictures in hand, Harvey talked to neighbors near the car crash and all fingers pointed to a house in the 3300 block of Flora Avenue in KCMO. After driving past it a few times, she finally got the courage to stop.
“The people were out in the driveway,” Harvey said. “I pulled right up. I got out of my car, and I said, 'I didn't do anything to you to deserve this, and I’m mad, and I want my things back, and I want them back now'.”
She said the group of people just stared at her – stunned.
“They were scared,” she said. “I think that they were pretty surprised. I’m sure that doesn't happen a lot where people stick up for themselves.”
Coincidentally at that exact moment, the accused thieves were being evicted from their house, so the landlord agreed to let Harvey look around for her stuff.
“I found just random things in the yard,” she said. “Door panels, you could tell they were just ripping things, car seats all over the place. Then I went into the house, where I found my clothes. There were needles. It was a mess.”
She found her ID, clothes, and other miscellaneous items, but not her books or boxing gear. The accused thieves claimed they didn’t know where her most valuable stuff was; and she's now hoping those responsible get what they deserve.
“Like everybody, you want justice,” Harvey said. “I want somebody to sit in jail, and not like jail, and not do it again.”
Police are still investigating and so far, no charges have been filed.