Glassboro resident Matthew Mullen was on his last pizza delivery down Kings Highway near Elkins Road on Nov. 6 when he saw an elderly man who had fallen in the street.
The 27-year-old stopped his car to help, as did a mother and son nearby who called an ambulance. When Mullen turned to get his phone out of the car, his vehicle had been stolen.
After contacting police, Mullen learned his car had been in a three way vehicular accident and the driver had fled on foot. No one was injured in the wreck.
Meanwhile, Mullen’s attempt to help is costing him.
“I’m out the entire value of my car, which is like $4,500 to $5,000,” he said. “Insurance doesn’t cover any of that because it was theft. I don’t have comprehensive [car insurance], I only have liability.
“On top of that,” he added, “I had to pay $300 to the tow yard to get (the car) released. I ended up scrapping it for $500.”
Without a car, Mullen has been unable to continue his job, and his work as a pool technician is on hold until warmer weather. His mother, Ronnie Chambers, has started a GoFundMe to help raise money for a new car, with $3,800 raised out of a $5,000 goal.
Mullen had purchased the car four months before the incident, and had only been driving it for three months after he received his driver’s license.
“I had a real hard time with life earlier in life,” he said. “I was in recovery for opiate addiction. I had gotten into a really, really bad car accident that almost killed me. I had two brain injuries (and) lost my spleen … My pelvis had to be reconstructed and because of that accident, I had to learn how to walk again.”
“… [It took] four years … just to be able to get my license in the first place,” he added, citing time spent in rehab. “It took a long time and a lot of money to get that car.”
Should the people who stole his car be found, they would be responsible for covering the costs of his car’s damages, criminal restitution and lost wages, according to Mullen.
“I wouldn’t have changed my actions,” he noted of helping the man in the road. “I wish someone didn’t see my car as an opportunity to make a couple dollars when I was clearly trying to go out of my way to help someone.
“But I still would go out of my way to help that dude.”
Cherry Hill police officer John Moyer has some advice for those who have vehicles stolen.
“In a situation like this, get as much information as you can when you’re there,” he offered.
Moyer added that it is easier to find a vehicle when drivers know their registration, meaning the license plate and the specifics of the vehicle.
The investigation in Mullen’s case is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Steven Cornforth at (856) 432-8823 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by emailing email@example.com or visiting https://local.nixle.com/tip/alert/7196358. Information can also be sent by the text TIP CHERRYHILLPD, followed by your message to 888777.
To donate to Mullen’s fund, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/uv4x9-car-stolen-and-totaled.