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The Case of the Locked Beetle -- a HOWdunit

Updated on October 11, 2014

A little puzzle: Guess the solution to this real-life locked car drama

Read the story of how I locked myself out of my beloved VW Bug, and see if you can guess how we resolved the problem. This happened to me some time in the early '90s.

Have fun!

Here's what happened to me - to the best of my recollection

My Bug was yellow, but not as clean-looking as this one.
My Bug was yellow, but not as clean-looking as this one. | Source

I had a long history of locking keys inside of cars. Many times in many different cars. I finally decided that the best practice for me was to simply not lock my car anymore. I felt especially comfortable doing this with my beat-up, but treasured, Volkswagen Beetle. It was old and had been broken into so many times that anything worth taking was already gone, so I just left it open and was completely at peace about it. Anybody who tried to take advantage of it would find that they had wasted their time.

But at a place in Culver City where I was interning, my preceptor requested that EVERYONE please please lock their cars. For Nancy's sake, I started locking it when I was at her business.

Sure enough, within days of her request I had managed to lock my keys in my car. When I realized my predicament, I sought help from a couple of friendly people who were nearby. We tried to fiddle with door, slide something down inside, get the wind wing open, etc. No luck.

One of the guys who was helping me decided to look inside my trunk to see if there might be a crevice somewhere where we could snake something in and get to the lock or to the wind wing. The trunk didn't lock any more, of course, so he opened it right up.

Once the trunk was open, I had to laugh as we all saw the easy and obvious solution to my problem. Within seconds I was holding my keys again. Can you guess what the solution was?

All the information you need is in the story above, but some reading between the lines is required. Think about it and then make a guess.

These were the guesses!

When I first posted this puzzler, we got two guesses. One from Brenda and one from Cynthia, aka Sylvestermouse, who successfully cracked the case!

  • Brenda - My guess is that the keys were in the trunk.
  • Sylvestermouse - Ok, so hold on a minute. If the engine is in the back does that mean the trunk is under the front hood? If so, could you just reach through the dash (air conditioner vents or missing radio spot) and grab the keys from the ignition?

The important points in the story were the facts that it's a VW Beetle and it had been the victim of thieves in the past.

I'll tell the rest of the story below.

Here's the answer . . .

Remember that in the old VW Bugs, the trunk was in the front. Once the trunk was open, our attention was immediately drawn to the big rectangular hole in my dashboard where the radio used to be before it got stolen.

Helpful-Guy reached through the space and easily retrieved my keys from the ignition. I thanked everyone and was soon on my way home.

Kudos to Sylvestermouse for being the first one to intuit the answer!

This video cracked me up!

"Help! I locked the keys in the car!"

Beep! Beep!

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      That video is the best !

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I learned years back to put my keys in a small bag round my neck. So I do. When I remember

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      9 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Ha ha! Good job Detective Mouse! I remembered that the engine was in the front but missed the fact that anything of value had already been stolen so I didn't think of the hole where the radio used to be. Nice lens!

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 

      9 years ago

      Cute story

    • newbizmau profile image

      Maurice Glaude 

      9 years ago from Mobile, AL

      That was interesting. Nice page.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      9 years ago from United States

      Detective Mouse could not have solved this case if it had not been for SoyCandleLover-Maker pointing out the engine placement and thanks to Treasures-By-Brenda, keys in the truck was a solution instantly checked off my list of options:) We had fun, but the solution was indeed a "group effort."

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      9 years ago from United States

      Ok, so hold on a minute: If the engine is in the back (SoyCandleLover-Maker) does that mean the truck is under the front hood? If so, could you just reach through the dash (air conditioner vents or missing radio spot) and grab the keys from the ignition? This was fun! I can hardly wait for the answer:) Angel Blessed!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I voted up Brenda's guess, because that's exactly what I was thinking.

    • joanhall profile imageAUTHOR

      Joan Hall 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      @TreasuresBrenda: I added your name. Thanks for submitting the first guess!

      After a while (how long would probably depend on the traffic), if no one has gotten it, I'll add a clue, and I'll Squidcast it. After that, if I need to post the answer, it will be right here on the lens.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Oops, forgot to add my name to my guess that the keys were in the trunk. I cannot believe that I did not find the answer when I scrolled down further on the lens. How could you do that to me Joan??? When will you be providing the answer? Where? Aghhhhh......

    • SoyCandleLover profile image

      Beth Webster-Duerr 

      9 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Quite the mystery. First I thought maybe the back seat folds down to access the truck. Then I remembered the engine is in back. :D I stumped. 5 stars


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