Jalopnik Readers Help Recover Stolen Batmobile

Illustration for article titled Jalopnik Readers Help Recover Stolen Batmobile

The sticky-fingered Joker who stole the World's Worst Batmobile didn't get away, thanks to the work of some eagle-eyed Jalopnik readers.


The World's Worst Batmobile — part 1994 Pontiac Grand Am and part ingenious-but-poor quality metalwork — came to our attention in June, when the car's creator, a University of Michigan student, posted it on Craigslist.

The car was finally sold over the summer to Noah Duncan, who lives in Adrian, Michigan near the border with Ohio. The Batmobile was eventually parked in a shed (the batshed?) and left to wait for a crime to occur. Unfortunately, the crime that occurred was the theft of the Batmobile itself.

Duncan noticed the missing car over the weekend and contacted the Michigan State Police, who started the hunt for the vehicle.

"I asked 'Do you have any pictures of it?'" says Trooper Strouse. "And he said 'Well, if you Google World's Worst Batmobile it's on there.'"

A reporter for The Daily Telegram filed a story about the stolen Batmobile and we put out the word to our readers to call the police if they spotted Gotham's best-worst car on the road.

A trio of Jalopnik-reading students at the University of Toledo immediately recognized the Grand Am as the same one they'd snagged a throttle positioning sensor from a week earlier in a Toledo junkyard, where it had been relegated to parts donor.

"It was a point of great disbelief and general hilarity between us and has been since," says Lucas, the talkative Michael Keaton of the group. "Upon further inspection, the car's TPS sensor fit our needs perfectly so we pulled it and went on our way."


Lucas, Andrew, and Nick contacted Jalopnik and we asked them to attempt one more dangerous mission back to the junkyard to retrieve photos. Their trip was a success and the photos of the much-abused Grand Am were taken to the lab and matched up with the originals.

The crime fighters called the Michigan State Police and shared the photos, location, and information after telling him they'd found out the car was stolen after reading Jalopnik.

Illustration for article titled Jalopnik Readers Help Recover Stolen Batmobile

"Without the communication that happens with the Internet, I don't know that I'd have found out where it was," says Trooper Strouse. "I called Noah, and he's just ecstatic they found it."


As for the culprit, he still remains on the loose.

"I tested all the local suspects — the penguin, the joker — but they didn't know anything about it," Trooper Strouse told us.


The Trooper hopes information from the junkyard about the original seller of the vehicle will help them locate the brilliant criminal mastermind behind the theft. In the meantime, Strouse is just enjoying the chase.

"It's funny as heck!"