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Columbus police partner with auto-body shop to help car theft victim

The owners of Doug and Pat's Old Hilliard Auto Care wanted to help out after hearing the news of people getting their vehicles stolen.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — CrimeTracker 10 has previously reported about the increase in stolen cars across central Ohio.

A couple of Columbus Police officers joined up with an autobody shop to help one victim out.

“Good has to outweigh evil,” said Pat Smith.

Smith owns Doug and Pat's Old Hilliard Auto Care with Doug Farnholtz. He has heard the news about people having their cars stolen in the past year.

“It's a shame just what's going on in society right now. This stuff has to stop,” Smith said.

In December, a man's car was stolen at gunpoint. It wasn't just a car to him; it was the only way for him to make money. He's a delivery driver.

“This person is just trying to make a living, take care of his family,” said Columbus Police Officer Adam Saddler.

Columbus police were able to locate the car, but it was damaged.

“Typical 'drive it as you stole it' scenario. That's what happened to it,” Smith explained.

When Officers Saddler and Alex Mottinger asked Smith and Farnholtz if they could fix it, the repair shop owners did not hesitate.

“You have to give back, pay it forward. I have always believed in that,” Farnholtz said.

Even though the officers offered to pay for repairs through the Starfish Assignment, Smith and Farnholtz tag-teamed the job for free.

“It was full of fingerprint dust still,” Smith laughed.

After new brakes and a bumper, they were excited to return the car to its rightful owner.

“He almost couldn't display any emotion because he was so overwhelmed with emotion,” said Mottinger.

Just as emotional for those who were able to help.

“It's very easy to get wrapped up in the bad that we see. To be able to help somebody and put some good back out there is always a good thing,” Saddler said.

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