West Hartford police said a man who is being accused of stealing a Chinese food delivery man's vehicle continued to drop off orders to customers' homes so he could keep all the money.
Police arrested Keith Hinds with larceny, possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to keep drugs in their original containers.
On Friday night, police said the delivery man from the Black Bamboo Chinese restaurant called police to tell them his car had just been stolen in front of Bristow Middle School after he left it idling while he delivered food inside.
"I parked my car at the middle school down the street I thought that nothing would happen to the car," said the delivery driver, who did not witness to be identified. "I would just go in real quick for two minutes and as soon as I came out, my car was gone."
He also called his manager to inform him so the restaurant could call the remaining customers to tell them their food was stolen, along with his car.
The situation then took a strange turn.
"My boss calls me back and tells me that one of the customers had their order," said the delivery driver. "And that's when it clicked to me that somebody was making deliveries with my car at first I thought it was a practical joke then it turned out it was real."
After informing one of the customers that the order and car had been stolen, the customer told him that the food was delivered.
"That morning I was watching a prank show with my brother," the delivery driver said. "I thought my brother and him were in on it. I mean, messing with my head, they wasn't. Yeah, just crazy."
Because the remaining orders were in Hartford, the city's police department was notified of what took place one town over.
A short time later, Hartford police notified West Hartford police that they had the car and alleged thief in custody after he was caught trying to make another delivery.
A search of the thief revealed a crack pipe, marijuana and some Seraquil in a bag.
The car was returned to the driver in Hartford.
Hinds is being held on a $5,000 bond.
"Those orders were not in your vehicle," the delivery driver said."If they weren't, I probably would have never seen my car."
The delivery driver has learned a lot from the incident.
"So now I know not to leave my keys in my car even for a minute, even for a second...in any neighborhood," he said. "That's the moral of the story I learned."
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