WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 16, 2012, 07:18 PM

Victim can thank himself for getting stolen car back

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- The victim of a stolen car has his car back tonight. And he can thank - himself.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- The victim of a stolen car has his car back tonight, and he can thank himself.

Dave Selvig turned into a crime fighting - and solving machine - after his car was stolen.

Dave Selvig - Car Owner: "It was an exciting Monday."

Dave Selvig came to his shop on 1st avenue south on a lunch break from his sales job at Indigo signs. He ran is so quickly he left his keys in the car.

Dave Selvig: "While I was inside I heard a crash against the door, and when I finally got to the door and opened it up I saw that there was a bicycle sitting up against my door."

After noticing his white Mazda CX5 was gone, Selvig did the usual. He called the police, insurance, and his co-worker Jill Gustofson for a ride.

Dave Selvig: "Drove down the corner right by Fargo Tire here and waiting to take a left onto Main Avenue and I'll be darned our mouths just dropped, and here comes my car shooting right by us."

After following the vehicle for a few blocks, the driver of the stolen car, 29 year-old Whitney Littleghost pulled into this M&H gas station. After both vehicles were stopped, Selvig ran to his car to pull Littleghost out, then, after a short scuffle, Littleghost got away. Gustofson didn't think twice before chasing the suspect down.

Jill Gustofson - Chased Car Thief: "Oh yeah - dress, heels, running down the street. This young man comes running up and I just said, 'Get him.' I said, 'He stole a car,' so he ran after him. The gal who called 9-1-1 in her car tosses me the phone, said, 'I got 9-1-1,' so I'm still running, talking on the phone. The guy ran out of his shoe. I've got his shoe in my hand and I'm running, turned the corner and I can see him, and they disappear."

Once the foot chase ended, Littleghost was found in the bathroom of Gladys Ray Shelter. After the crime fighting pair realized what just happened they couldn't believe it.

Jill Gustofson: "It was just instinct, it was like, 'it was Dave's car and yeah you're not going to get away with it.'"

Now with his car back and safe in his possession, Selvig says he did learn a valuable lesson.

Dave Selvig: "There they are - they're in my pocket, no keys in cars."

The car thief is 29 year old Whitney Grant Littleghost. He was arrested and charged with theft of property, a class C felony. Although this situation turned out fine, Lt. Joel Vettel says it's never safe to chase a criminal.

Vettel says anyone committing a crime is capable of doing anything. He also points out it's always best to never leave your keys in the car, and lock the doors.

Lt. Joel Vettel - Fargo Police: "People envision a stolen vehicle that somebody takes and you know, pops the lock and then are somehow able to access your vehicle utilizing some sort of device. Really, the typical stolen vehicle - well over 90% of our stolen vehicles - the keys are left in them."

This crime is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.