‘I thought it was a joke’: Couple’s car stolen from Fremont Walmart Auto Care Center

A Fremont couple's car was taken from a Walmart Auto Care Center last week.

The theft happened at the Walmart on Osgood Road around 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to Fremont police. The couple had taken their car in for a routine oil change when things went terribly wrong.

"On the first phone call they asked me if I drove the car off the lot," Josh Hsieh said. "I didn’t think anything of it at the time."

When Hsieh received a second phone call, he started questioning the situation.

"The manager said the car was gone," Hsieh said. "I asked the man if he was joking because he was rambling over the phone. I thought I was on a show or something."

It was revealed that someone stole a pair of keys from the Auto Care Center and drove off with the white Kia Forte. How it happened is still puzzling to the car’s owners.

"Something as simple as an oil change, you would think would get done," said Hsieh’s girlfriend, Linda Ton. "The keys are in their possession. It’s something so simple and so easy. I wouldn’t think that our car would be stolen."

The car was eventually found hours later in a nearby grocery store parking lot. Ton said she did all the work to find the car using the Kia Access App to give live location updates to police.

"The driver definitely went on a joyride," she said. "At one point they drove down the wrong side of the road."

The car was eventually ditched at the Mowry East Shopping Center. When police arrived, the driver was gone and so were the set of keys.

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"It’s just the ick factor," said Ton. "We don’t know what they were doing in the car, but they definitely put things inside it."

After the car was found, it was discovered the license plates had been removed. There was also a computer belonging to someone else and metal pipes in the trunk.

"If this happened to us, it could happen to anyone," said Hsieh.

According to Fremont Police, the case is still open, as there have been no arrests. A suspect description was not immediately available.

However, the couple told KTVU they were told by Walmart’s Auto Care Center manager that the person who took the keys is "familiar to them."

"I feel like they need better security," said Ton. "This was just carelessness. They need to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else, and they need to reach out to us to make this right. It was just a bad experience."

KTVU reached out to Walmart’s corporate headquarters for comment. In a statement, a spokesperson said:

"We want everyone to have an enjoyable and safe shopping experience at our store. We are grateful for the swift action of law enforcement in retrieving the customer’s vehicle and will continue working with them as needed."

We’ve since learned a member of Walmart’s insurance division has reach out to the couple, but it’s unclear what type of compensation the couple is receiving. 

"There’s also the fact that this person may still have our keys," said Ton. "We have to get new ones, replace our license plate and pay for having the vehicle cleaned out."