ROB KNOWLES and JON HOUZET
LOCAL resident, Eric Boyd, who moved to Port Alfred just eight months ago, recently appeared on Facebook for all the wrong reasons.
Port Elizabeth resident Helen Crooks, a sub-editor for the Tiso Blackstar Group to which Talk of the Town also belongs, was visiting her holiday home in Port Alfred and went shopping at Pick n Pay on Sunday afternoon when the keys to her car and home were apparently taken by someone at the checkout counter as she paid for her groceries.
Afraid that this might be a way for thieves to access her property, she was in a panic and called her son who drove from Port Elizabeth to bring a spare set of car keys to her. She also asked to review the security footage of her at the till and could see an older white man taking her keys while she was focused on finding something in her handbag.
Crooks posted a security camera still of the man on Facebook and shared it to the Talk of the Town Facebook group on Monday, asking if anyone could identify the man. People offered suggestions on how to trace him, but no one knew who he was.
It was only the following day that Boyd realised he had taken someone else’s keys.
“I don’t use Facebook, so I had no idea my picture was there. But I did see that the car key was for a Ford, and not my car,” he said. “That was the first time I realised I was in possession of someone else’s keys.”
Concerned, Boyd travelled to the workshop where his car had recently been repaired to ask if anyone there had accidentally left the keys in his car. Having had no luck he then travelled to the Caltex service station on Southwell Road where he often has a coffee, to check if anyone there had reported missing keys. The manager there informed him of the Facebook post, and asked Boyd if it could be him in the photo.
Boyd recognised himself and came to the Talk of the Town offices to see if he could get in contact with Crooks.
TotT contacted her on Facebook and told her Boyd would leave the keys with us.
“I was shocked,” Boyd said. “I am so sorry. It was a genuine mistake, the keys look very similar.” Both sets of keys have similar blue remote switches.
“I feel very guilty and would like to humbly apologise and assure her [Crooks] that it will never happen again,” he said.
Crooks came to pick up her keys a couple of hours later and was very grateful to have them back.
“I was so worried I couldn’t sleep on Sunday night,” she said. “I was thinking the worst.”
She expressed gratitude to Talk of the Town for facilitating the return of her keys.