Vehicle stolen from Pratt is recovered in Wichita

Fran Brownell
Pratt Tribune
Stolen in the middle of a snowstorm, Tyson Taylor's Taylor Printing business vehicle was the subject of an intensive search last week. It was finally recovered on Monday, found in an alley in Wichita.

Pratt business owner and Taylor Printing, Inc. manager Tyson Taylor got a phone call last Saturday evening, December 19, that brightened the Taylor family holiday season.

“Officer Hayden Pepper of the Wichita Police Department called to tell me our missing 2013 Chevy Spark was found in a downtown alley,” Taylor said.

“Officer Pepper said it had a little bit of interior damage, and he suspected someone had driven it hard for a few days, but it was still OK.” Taylor said Monday morning, December 21.

Taylor Family members, along with Pratt and Wichita police officers and Facebook friends, have been looking for the white car, emblazoned with a lime-green Taylor Printing, Inc. wrap, that went missing from the 300 block of South High Street where Taylor parked the car Saturday night, December 12., ironically, in front of a Kansas Highway Patrol car, with two other law enforcement vehicles parked in the same block.

“The Spark was missing at 6 a.m. when I went out to get it the next Sunday morning. “Taylor said. ”I thought, ‘What the heck?’”

It had snowed during the night the car went missing, Taylor said, but there were no visible tracks of the car being driven away from where he had parked it.

Puzzled and upset, Taylor said he walked the five blocks to his home.

“I immediately called the police,” Taylor said. “Then I posted it on Facebook.”

Taylor posted the Facebook alert, including a picture of the vehicle, on the Pratt Neighbors helping Neighbors Facebook site where it had garnered 111 views and 47 comments as of December 21, several expressing amazements that such an easily-recognized vehicle would be stolen.

Next, Tyson met up with his parents, Jeff and Sandy Taylor, and the trio went on a search mission of their own.

Tyson said they were looking for the vehicle on the chance it had been taken for an unauthorized joy ride and then abandoned.

That scenario could have been possible, Tyson said, acknowledging that he had the known habit of not only not locking the car doors, but also of leaving the car keys in the front-seat cupholder.

“I was just in the habit of leaving the keys in the car and not locking it,” Tyson said. ”I’ve been doing that for years.”

Up one street and down the next, from one area of town to another, after more than an hour of fruitless searching, Tyson and his parents called it quits.

Then, a new lead came to Taylor from friends Kidron Riner and Chanille Thibault, who alerted him that they had seen his missing Chevy Spark about 11 p.m. Saturday, December 12, the same night it had gone missing from High Street.

“It was seen at 60th Street and 30th Avenue, heading east on a dirt road that goes all the way to South Wichita,” said Taylor who followed up by filing a stolen vehicle report with Wichita Police.

On Monday following the theft, a possible lead in the case came Taylor’s way when he got an early afternoon phone call.

“It was a Mr. Hernandez complaining that a Taylor Printing car was blocking his business driveway at 932 South Main,” Tyson said. “I hung up and drove the five blocks from our print shop right down Main Street, excited about getting my Spark back.”

Puzzled when he didn’t find the Spark parked at the reported location, Taylor said he immediately called Hernandez and questioned, “Hey man, where are you?”

The answer: Wichita.

Taylor said his next call was to Wichita PD to alert them of the stolen vehicle’s location.

But, when Wichita officers arrived at the business where Hernandez reported the missing Spark to be blocking the driveway, there was no Spark to be found.

“Hernandez said a young couple in their early twenties came and picked up the car and sped off,” Taylor said.

Now, one week following the theft, Taylor said he is elated that the Spark, with an estimated value of $7,000, including $3,500 is for the vinyl wrap, has been recovered.

Taylor also said he has a 2021 New Year’s Resolution waiting in the wings.

“Life Lesson learned,” said 33-year-old Taylor. “From now on, I’ll be locking my vehicle and taking my car keys with me.”