Maryland man finds his stolen jeep up for sale in DC

A Silver Spring-area man may have a new career as a detective after he found his stolen vehicle listed for sale in D.C.

The incident started at around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29th, not far from the Bank of American on Georgia Avenue in Downtown Silver Spring. 

Brian Williams told FOX 5 his son had the family’s Jeep Patriot and hopped out. The son then returned to find the Jeep was gone.

Police say car thefts, along with carjackings, have been on the rise in the region. Montgomery County Police told FOX 5 back in December 2021, police responded to 901 auto thefts and carjackings in 2019, and 1,172 of the same crimes in 2020. 


On Wednesday, a Montgomery County Police spokesperson told FOX 5 police ended-up responding to at least 1,373 auto thefts alone in 2021 (from January 1, 2021 – December 28, 2021).

"Honestly, I wasn’t shocked," Brian Williams told FOX 5. Williams said friends also had their vehicles stolen. 

The Montgomery County man said he filed a police report and his wife posted to neighborhood listservs – sharing photos of the stolen vehicle.

RELATED: Massive surge in Maryland, DC carjackings prompts formation of prosecutor task force

However, instead of waiting, Williams also started checking online. That’s when he told FOX 5 he found his vehicle, with the same marks, dents, and bumper coloration, listed as "for sale" on the site, "Offer Up." Williams said he screen-grabbed the post, which included several photos, and a $2,950 price tag on his stolen Jeep.

The post included the name of a legitimate licensed used car dealership in D.C. FOX 5 is not naming the dealership at this time – as police are still investigating how the stolen Jeep got there.

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Williams said police were able to coordinate with the used auto business owner and had William ID his Jeep before he went to pick it up last week.

We’re told the "Offer Up" post claimed the Jeep had a "clean title" but, Williams told FOX 5 neither the thieves nor the used car dealer had a copy of his title.

"Fortunately, saw it before they did because I don’t think, this is my honest feeling on it, I don’t think they ever would’ve detected the car based on what happened," said Williams, who told FOX 5 the "Offer Up" post was taken down a few days later.

"We’ve seen instances in the last 12 months of the pandemic where people will try to take more proactive stances in things like this, or they actually would try to get their car back themselves. So the fact that this person worked with law enforcement is exactly what we want to see," said Montgomery County Police Captain Nicholas Picerno.

Picerno encouraged people to lock their car doors but also said some thieves are targeting families with more than one car sometimes. They're finding a spouse who will keep a spare key fob to their partner’s car, in their vehicle.

"There’s a better way to having a career, but this is not one of them. The problem everyone has to understand is it's an ongoing thing," said Williams, who joked he may have to start his own business helping people track down their stolen vehicles. 

Williams told FOX 5 he thought about going to the D.C. used auto lot himself but is glad he listened to a friend and worked with police to recover the vehicle. No one was injured in the process.

Williams is also encouraging people to lock their doors or invest in GPS tracking if possible.