“Hey, that’s my truck!”

Those are the words Chris Nabors found himself yelling just before he watched his 2001 Dodge Ram pickup truck pull out of the parking space where he left it.

He had just finished eating lunch at El Fenix after attending services at Northlake Christian Church – a family tradition. As he was walking toward his truck, he saw what he thought was a black cat on the roof of the truck and a white Nissan Pathfinder backed into a parking spot adjacent to his. Then he realized that the cat was actually someone’s head peeking over the top of the roof. That’s also when he realized his truck was being stolen.

Nabors knew the car thief hadn’t started the engine yet because he has extra-loud Flowmaster exhaust pipes, and he didn’t hear them. He saw that the driver’s side window was down, so he ran up to the window. Just then, the car thief started the engine and began backing out.

What he did next goes under the “do not try this at home” category.

“I grabbed him by the shirt collar and held on for about 100 feet. I was just screaming at him: ‘That’s my truck! That’s my truck!’ His eyes were as big around as softballs. Then he punched it.”

At that point Nabors did a quick risk vs. reward assessment and decided to cut his losses. He let go and scraped his knee in the resulting fall to the pavement.

At this point, you would think Nabors would have had enough vigilantism for one day. You’d be wrong. Nabors’ buddy pulled up in his Porsche Carrera S, and the two self-deputized crime fighters took off after the thieves. Unfortunately, they were long gone by then.

When he returned to the El Fenix parking lot, two surprised Dallas Police officers filled out the report.

“When the officers arrived, they said you shouldn’t approach a car thief. I would think the average citizen shouldn’t attempt that.”

Turns out Nabors isn’t your average citizen. He worked as a police officer for 10 years, six of those years patrolling South Dallas.

“So I wasn’t scared of some dirt bag car thief,” he says.

When he started talking to the responding officers, he learned the thieves were likely after the high-end rims on the truck. They said Dodge wheels are popular right now.

Nabors also learned that car thieves have learned to wedge extra thin screwdrivers between the plastic molding on door handles and the door to unlatch the locking mechanism.

Two days later, Nabors’ Porsche-driving friend said he talked to the manager at the Centennial next to the El Fenix, who said that an employee’s truck was stolen six months ago from virtually the same location.

“It would have been a better story if I would have pulled the guy out of the truck,” he says. “Sadly, it didn’t have a better ending.”