He’s one of the good guys!
Nick Haas is a mission to recover stolen cars. Since last summer, he’s recovered 54 vehicles in his city, and helped them get returned to their owners. Haas might be the city’s last hope as the limited police resources are rarely enough in a good situation, but in Portland with crime skyrocketing and budgets on the floor, you might have to rely on fellow citizens if you want your car back.
Haas owns an automotive repair shop, and sometimes brings these cars back when he finds them. Pointing out a smashed up Subaru. Haas shares, “This is exactly how it was found," Haas said, showing some of the damage to the vehicle. "[They] broke a window to get into it.”
Facebook groups and social media leads are the source of many of his tips. He shares cars he’s found on the streets and notes, “this is working better than, unfortunately, police or whatever automotive theft task force they have on hand," Haas said. When he finds cars with no VIN and information, there’s little the police can do anyway, so spreading the word online has proven to be more effective.
The first vehicle he ever recovered was a 1980 Harley Davidson. This motorcycle belonged to a veteran and has sentimental value to the owner. “I love it," Haas said. "I mean, that's my favorite moment, is to capture that picture of them with their vehicle and that big grin on their face, like, you know, 'it's gonna be OK.' And that makes it all worthwhile.”