I left my car unlocked last night, and when I opened the door to shepherd the kids in to go to school, Karis said “Eew! It stinks like cigarettes in here!”
She was right. Some ass-hole had been in my car. I say “ass-hole” and not “unfortunate soul, down on their luck” because my gut tells me this was done by bored teenagers rather than a desperate person in dire need of, say, food.
They riffled through every compartment, rudely leaving everything spilled out onto the floor. They couldn’t have been in there longer than three minutes, but by God, that was all it took to stink up my poor car. This person is a serious chain smoker.
What did they take? This is where it gets weird. They took $1.75 in quarters, but left the $2.45 in dimes and nickels in the cup holder. They pulled out my navigator (which is admittedly outdated, but still worth something) but didn’t take it. They took a stale packet of pretzels that was half broken and also crammed into the navigator compartment that I have kept in there for two years in case I’m ever caught in a blizzard and need to eat them to survive. (That is honestly why I have kept them in there. Yes, I live in Southern California where it doesn’t snow, but I’ve watched one too many survival shows about people stranded in blizzards.) They did *not* take the fresh baggie of pretzels from Brecken’s lunch box.
They also didn’t take my iPods or my gum, and let’s be honest, I wouldn’t have faulted them for taking the gum – you know their breath reeks like an ashtray.
I drove the kids to school with all the windows down. Then I came home and scrubbed every surface of the interior to get the stranger cooties and cigarette stink out of there. Finally I called the local police department to report it as a courtesy to my neighbors. I never expected them to want to come out to speak with me. I thought, Really? You want to come out for a $1.75 theft?
A lovely officer came out – actually, THREE marked cars came out, but only one officer got out to talk to me – and I walked her through what I had found. I told her I cleaned the car, not thinking they would care enough to bother with prints or anything, but she then called on her radio to cancel the CSI team. A CSI team, you guys! For $1.75 taken from an unlocked car!
(I apologize to anyone being raped or mugged right now. All the police officers are over at my house looking at my clean car.)
The officer told me there were quite a few unlocked car thefts reported this morning, and that just like with my situation, the thief took weird things and loose change, but left things of value like electronics and prescription drugs.
This is what qualifies as drama and crime in my neighborhood. I am so grateful to live here, and I count my blessings. I am embarrassed to admit to feeling violated by this. Also, I am thankful that nothing of real value was taken, and I will be careful to always lock my doors.