No, not the video game. This is a story about real life grand theft auto, and it's remarkably sweet.
The other day I asked Jalopnik readers what cars they'd be willing to risk prison time for. Most people posted about high-priced exotica and forbidden-fruit imports. Reader JarkBerts, though, said 'a 1991 Tercel' and made a reference to an actual case.
As a Toyota Tercel enthusiast, I asked for more, and JarkBerts responded with the following tale of questionable 1990s automotive construction, college foolishness, and, well, I won't give it away.
True story. Freshman year of college a roommate and I ended up about 10 miles from our dorm without a car at 3am. The details of how we got there aren't important. We pull out our phones and start calling people who might have a car and answer a 3am call. I call a girl that I had hung out with the night before knowing she didn't have a car, but would answer my 3am call and her roommate had a car (BMW e30 actually). The roommate with the bimmer was gone but another roommate remembered that she had a Toyota Tercel key from home that inexplicably could unlock and start a Tercel in the parking lot. Yes, apparently the Toyota used the same key for all Tercels, brilliant.
Anyways, she doesn't know who the owner of this Tercel is but comes to pick me and my roommate up in it. We take our time getting back, and even make a stop at McDonalds. As we pull into the dorm parking lot, the owner is waiting for us with the cops. We're busted. My idiot roommate is worried about his stolen (burned) CD's as I try to help him realize that we stole a car. We all got hauled off to the police station.
Okay, so I didn't go to prison, but I was charged with Grand Theft Auto. I took a deal from the prosecutor and plead guilty to joyriding and did community service + probation. The girls somehow got off free (because cute and crying) and my roommate got the same as me.
epilogue: I am now married to the girl with the key.
JarkBerts went on to say that the case didn't hold back him or his wife, and he's currently gainfully employed in the automotive industry.
I think that's about as sweet a story can get, at least when a grand theft auto charge is involved.
Photo Credit: Toyota (1991 Tercel sedan pictured)