My car theft story (Caution: 63 lines)

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Tdarcos
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My car theft story (Caution: 63 lines)

Post by Tdarcos » Mon May 07, 2018 5:32 pm

Jonsey specifically asked me not to post to the "Car Thieves" thread so I'll post my own car theft story from about 15 years ago.

First I have to go back about 3-4 months to where I'm driving on the freeway when my Jeep Wrangler craps out on the freeway. I can't figure out what's wrong, the engine will crank but won't turn over, headlights will come on so it's not electrical, there's 3/4 of a tank of gas, can't figure it out. So I call GEICO because I take their road coverage, they tow me to the Sunoco about 6 blocks from my house because my sister recommends them as an honest repair place, I tell them and they'll check it out.

About a couple days later they call me, the bad news is I owe them $103.00 but the good news is they fixed the problem. The gas tank was bone dry and they, like me, seeing the gas gauge at 3/4, checked everything else first, never dreaming the gas gauge was lying.

I mentioned to my sister that the gas gauge never reads less than 3/4 even if empty. She gives me a funny look, and says, "Oh yeah, didn't I tell you?"

So I go pick it up, fill the tank and it's fine, the gas tank is full, really, but it will never drop below 3/4, and the cost to additionally repair the gauge is too expensive. So I decide on a cheaper solution.

I get a pen and a pad of Post-It notes and leave them on top of the dash. When I fill the tank I write the current mileage and stick the note on the face of the dashboard. Since most of my driving is city I estimate I can get 200 miles on the tank. So whenever I get in the Jeep, I check the mileage, and if it's close to 200 from what I wrote, when I get a chance, I stop at a gas station, fill the tank, pull off the Post-it note, write the current mileage, stick it on the front of the dashboard, and continue where I'm going. (I don't use the trip odometer because sometimes I use that for other things and might forget; this makes a big impossible to miss number on a yellow Post-It.)

This practice continues for several weeks. I even arrange to do a trip all the way to Essex, MD near Baltimore so my brother and I can go to the Bengies drive-in theater and see a triple feature. I fill the tank before we leave, after we drive out of the theatre about 3am I've done about 85 miles, so I stop at an all-night gas station, fill the tank and post the new number. No biggie and one thing, I had also started writing number of gallons on each fill, and I discovered I wasn't getting 10MPG as I thought, I was getting an average of 14 1/2 - 15. But for safety sake I always presumed the 20-gallon tank got 10MPG so I'd always refill well before the tank went dry.

One morning I get up to go somewhere and the Jeep is gone. Okay, maybe my sister borrowed it, so I go check. No, she's here. Well, this is great news! That piece-of-shit Jeep Wrangler I use for basic transportation has been stolen, and because Geico required me to take full coverage to get road service, the car is insured against theft, which it wouldn't have been otherwise. So I make the first, most important call, and call Geico to tell them it's been stolen. (911 can be called after the insurance company.)

On the boiler-plate list of questions I was asked by Geico was, "Were the keys left in the ignition?" I said no. I knew absolutely the keys were not in the ignition, because you could crank the ignition by turning the ignition key socket even when empty (for obvious reasons a piece of information my sister and I did not disclose to anyone unless absolutely necessarily), so I hadn't used the keys to start the Jeep in the last two years. But I wasn't stupid and did not volunteer that information. So I'm told I should now call 9-1-1 and report it stolen, so I do. A uniformed patrol officer from Arlington County, VA police has me sign a police report, and she gives me a copy. I call Geico back, give them the report number, and wait, because the clock is now running. Unless the vehicle is found within 30 days, Geico has to pay me the car's value less deductible. If the car is found on the 31st day, the insurance company still has to pay.

I'm actually rather pleased. This not-very-good car has been legitimately stolen without my knowledge, so all I have to do is hope the thief is smart enough not to get caught for 30 days, because then I'll get about $2500 after the deductible, which I could use to waste on luxuries like food or another cheap car.

Only, unfortunately, 17-year-old Alexander Evans is not a competent thief and is quickly caught, "quickly" meaning "within 3 weeks." As it turned out, one of the reasons being he had to abandon the Jeep after burning out the starter, because for some (unknown to him, fully known to me) the Jeep wouldn't start, despite having 3/4 of a tank of gas.

What's interesting was I was notified that the thief was caught, not by the police but by Geico.

When I had the Jeep it had a broken driver's-side window zipper, which when I got it back was repaired or replaced. And everything in the car, six cheap used 386 computers I had paid about $40 each, was gone. And I had to spend about $128 for materials and labor to get the starter fixed.

The Commonwealth's Attorney (local district attorney) asked me if I could come to the courthouse the next morning because the kid was going on trial much sooner than expected and I might have to be a witness to prove he stole my car, and I said ok. When I got to the Courthouse he also asked me how much were the damages. I had figured I'd be asked, I had computed it last night, so I said,"Three hundred and sixty eight dollars," without so much as a pause. He looked at me funny, surprised I'd have the exact amount on the tip of my tongue.

As it turned out he plead guilty; I don't know if he was offered a plea but I wouldn't be surprised.

A few months later I get a hand-written letter in which Alexander Evans had apologized for stealing from me, explaining why, and telling how he'd learned his lesson after getting six months in the Alexandria City Juvenile Jail. Oh yes, I knew the place.

Back then, I was doing notary public work watching people sign paperwork to refinance their mortgages. One of the people I had been called for some time earlier was a guard at the Alexandria City Juvenile facility who wanted to sign his loan refinance papers at his office. You go through a vestibule after a big, hard sounding cell door closes on the outside. In the vestibule the guards can see you but you can't see them, and you explain your purpose. One of the places you can be let into is a waiting area with tables, and another huge solid door crashes behind you. That is creepy enough when all I'm doing is watching someone sign papers for 45 minutes and I can go; this kid is spending six months there.

Mr. Evans also said he hoped I could forgive him. And it was signed by him and his mother.

So I wrote him back and I said a lot of people want things they can't afford; this is the reason so many people owe lots of money on credit cards. I pointed out since he got caught as quickly as he did, he's probably not very good as a thief and probably should find some other line of work. And at the end, I wrote, "Oh, and yes, I forgive you."

Well, so much for that and I more-or-less forget about it. Until a few months later when I get a letter from the City of Alexandria. In it is a letter from the city telling me Alexander Evans had turned his life around, found a job, and was paying off all the people he had stolen from. Along with a check from the city for $368. Which surprised me as I never expected to get my money back.

I think we kept the Jeep a couple more years until my sister decided to donate it to one of those charities that take cars.
The lessons of history teach us - if they teach us anything - that no one learns the lessons of history. tdarcos@tdarcos.com

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Re: My car theft story (Caution: 63 lines)

Post by Casual Observer » Mon May 07, 2018 11:01 pm

Tdarcos wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 5:32 pm
I don't use the trip odometer because sometimes I use that for other things
I gotta know, what other things do you use the trumpeter for? Even with trips I can't think of any use except calculating my gas mileage.

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Re: My car theft story (Caution: 63 lines)

Post by Casual Observer » Mon May 07, 2018 11:02 pm

Sorry, i typed tripometer, but autocorrect felt otherwise.

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AArdvark
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Re: My car theft story (Caution: 63 lines)

Post by AArdvark » Tue May 08, 2018 3:07 am

I like the idea of having the number of text lines in the subject of these posts. It's a way of taking a deep breath before clicking on them.

Think about maybe a second draft before hitting the submit.


THE
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Jizaboz
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Re: My car theft story (Caution: 63 lines)

Post by Jizaboz » Tue May 08, 2018 4:00 pm

Cool story bro

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Ice Cream Jonsey
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Re: My car theft story (Caution: 63 lines)

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Tue May 08, 2018 9:40 pm

This was a good story, prime material. You did good here, Commander. Any chance you can post this to Caltrops too? I think that place would give you additional insight on it.

Thanks for posting.
the dark and gritty...Ice Cream Jonsey!

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