SLC college student pleads for return of stolen truck with sentimental connection to late grandfather

Apr 1, 2024, 10:24 PM | Updated: 10:27 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A college student was pleading Monday for his stolen truck to be returned, saying it held deep significance to his late grandfather.

Jack Casper said he believed someone stole his keys and then the gray, four-door 2012 Nissan Frontier after friends of friends of friends — essentially strangers to him — showed up Friday night to his rental near Highland and Zenith at the invitation of his roommates.

“I had finished my homework by now,” Casper recalled of Friday evening during an interview with KSL TV. “I’m hanging out with everybody and I realize my keys are gone.”

On Saturday, when Casper went outside to look for his truck, it was gone as well.

“I start searching around and couldn’t find my car,” he said. “(I) haven’t been able to find it since.”

The truck — which Casper said featured “some dings and some dents” — wasn’t worth a lot in terms of money, but it was priceless to him in terms of the sentimental value because of the connection to his late grandfather, Steve Casper.

Jack Casper with his late grandfather, Steve Casper. (Casper family)

“He’s probably my favorite person of all time,” Casper said. “He took me to and from school every day in that truck.”

Casper said when his grandfather’s health declined prior to his death in 2021, the tables turned.

“Even after he had his stroke and we were having a hard time, I got the opportunity to drive him around in the truck,” Casper said. “It’s like the last real piece of my grandfather left.”

Casper reported the theft to the Salt Lake City Police Department on Saturday and they were still looking for it as of Monday.

Such stories ‘don’t end well’

Police spokesman Brent Weisberg said stories of stolen vehicles often don’t end well.

“People will drive it like it’s stolen — that phrase — and often times these cars are having to be totaled because they’re either damaged heavily or they’re no longer in safe, working condition,” Weisberg said.

He said it was important for people to always have information about their cars handy — along with good pictures — in the event those vehicles ever disappear.

According to Weisberg, the city was in the middle of an ongoing downtrend in car thefts since the department prioritized the issue a couple years ago — when there was a “rapid increase” in those crimes.

“We teamed up with prosecutors and the criminal justice system to have a real concerted effort to hold offenders accountable,” Weisberg said.

He said the increased use of existing license plate readers has also made a difference.

“We’ve seen about a 17 percent decline in the number of stolen cars here in Salt Lake City and that’s on top of last year’s decline we saw year-to-date overall for 2023,” Weisberg said.

The impact of stolen vehicles

He said officers understand the toll a stolen car can take.

“Having your car stolen can be a huge impact for community members, especially for single parents or young adults who are just starting out their lives,” Weisberg said. “Having their car stolen can really impact them financially and it can cut off many resources that they have.”

For Casper, the theft weighed even heavier due to the long history it represented with his grandfather.

“It’s just crazy to me that something that means so much to me could just be like taken on one whim and they’re hardly going to get anything out of it,” he said.

He hoped the individual would return the truck, or anybody with information about the location of the truck would contact Salt Lake City Police at 801-799-3000.

“I was going to keep this car forever,” Casper said. “That car to me — it’s irreplaceable.”

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SLC college student pleads for return of stolen truck with sentimental connection to late grandfather