11Alive viewers help woman get new car back after it was falsely reported stolen

The owner had her car towed away when she tried to apply for a tag. It turns out that a mistake in police records was to blame. Now she has gotten the car back due to a viral post.

A car returned: It’s the outcome everyone wanted after a mom bought a vehicle from a dealership only to discover it had been reported stolen when she went to register it - leaving her out $5,500 and a car.

It was one of the top stories on 11Alive and on social media reaching 175,000 people on Facebook. Many people out there were demanding the dealership do right by her and, now, it appears they are.

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“This is my first major purchase and I’m extremely proud of it,” Crystal Wilkinson said.

After a week-long saga, the black Nissan Maxima sits in Crystal Wilkinson’s driveway - and it’s officially her car.

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“It was a huge mess and I am so glad and thankful that it’s over with,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson bought the car in January from E-Z Auto Finance in Marietta, Georgia. She put $5,500 down and spent another $1,000 fixing it up.

A week before, she went to put plates on the car but the Cobb tag office and Cobb police told her it was stolen. They towed it away.

“You know a situation like this, I don’t even know how to advise somebody because you know this never should’ve happened in the first place,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson called 11Alive for help. We pressed the dealer, we called the police, and we eventually learned the guy who originally reported it stolen in October of 2017 said that soon after he realized someone he knew had taken it and returned it.

He said he contacted Atlanta police to let them know but they didn’t have any record of it according to a spokesperson. Thursday, Wilkinson finally got the car back from the tow yard in Kennesaw, Georgia.

“You [11Alive] helped a lot, and I really appreciate you," she said. "11Alive airing the story, I mean getting everything out because this could’ve taken a lot longer and been a lot more complicated than it was. But you’ve been a huge help so I really, really appreciate you and the whole news team."

Wilkinson thanked the station's viewers and social media followers who supported her and created a viral response to this story.

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“I was in shock because it got shared so much and all the comments and everybody agreed," she said. "I mean, it’s - just as a consumer - nobody should have to deal with this.”