Back in 1998 when I was living in downtown Salt Lake City, in a pretty sketchy neighborhood, or I guess as sketchy as a neighborhood in Utah could possibly be (where people smoke cigarettes! and drink tea!), someone broke into my four-door Honda Accord and stole my state-of-the-art JVC cassette stereo. And I was hopping mad about it until I noticed that the thief had broken in through one of those small triangular windows in the backseat, making the clean-up and repair minimal. He could have smashed any of the four bigger windows, or even the windshield, but he didn’t. He cared that much.

That is a thief making his mama proud.

I should have opened up comments on my last post (so I will on this one) because many of you have sent me stories of your own encounters with car thieves, and my God, they are too good to keep to myself. Like this one from Alyssa:

My friend and her boyfriend were driving across the country back to college with an entire carload of stuff when the car was stolen.

They were stranded in Arizona, but managed to get back to Chicago where they got a call that the car had been recovered.

There was almost nothing left of the carload of stuff, save for one thing – every last book.

So at least we can rest easy knowing that the thieves have our crap, but we can kick their asses on Jeopardy.

Shit. You’ve gotta believe something.

Jon and I heard recently that Utah has one of the largest rates of car stereo theft in the country, and we were sitting around trying to figure out why, what is it about Utah? And why car stereos? And the only thing we could come up with is that thieves in Utah are so inbred — see: a history of half-brothers and sisters getting it on at the compound — that they are too dumb to know how to steal anything of real value. LIKE THE ACTUAL CAR. And when I think about it that way it just makes Utah seem so cute.

  • sheikh_djibouti

    I was visiting a friend down in Tallahassee, FL during winter break in 1999. I was driving a cloth top Jeep Wrangler and parked in an approved Florida State University parking lot with police cameras and other surveillance equipment. Even today I don’t leave much in the Jeep because it is so easy to break into, just simply unzip the window. However this simple mechanism must have confounded the burglar as s/he pried back the window itself in order to gain access. Lying flat on the ground, the window had been bent to about a 25 degree angle. These masterminds then tried to steal my factory installed cassette player (who steals a cassette player, even in 1999?). In the end nothing was taken from my car, instead I had to replace my window, which cost about $100.

  • fred

    when i lived in Philadelphia,i didn’t have a car… but someone tried to mug me once. I didn’t have any money, and the mugger spared my life. but he punched me in the nose as a lesson. always carry money.

  • sparkle pants

    A few years ago, someone smashed in the driver’s side window of my Saturn and took almost everything except the trash, a laundry basket full of blankets, and a box of Christmas ornaments I was hanging onto for a friend in the trunk. They took my jumper cables and the little notepad I kept in my glove box to keep track of my gas mileage. They took all of my cds and my backpack. Fortunately they missed the copies of my completed tax returns and grad school apps that had my SSN splashed everywhere.

    But what hurt more than any of that was that when they stole my backpack, they got my bible. And when they got my bible, they got one of the only pictures I had left of a good friend of mine who had died a few years earlier. I carried it with me all the time, everywhere I went. Some stranger, some asshole probably threw that bible and all its contents, including that picture, in the trash or in the ditch or along the side of the road. I went for walks for weeks after that, hoping to find those things in a ditch in the neighborhood. Eventually I gave up.

    Sorry that this happened. It’s so disconcerting to have a stranger paw your things.

  • Robert Paulson

    Once when I was about 16 or 17, my father had taken home a brand new, high performance Volvo for the evening (he worked at the Big 3, the car was for Big 3 testing purposes). He let me take the car to the 7-11 late that night to buy a Big Gulp and some milk. I parked the car, got out and walked to the back of the store – when I returned to the front of the store I’d noticed the car was gone.

    Freaked that I’d finally receive that lethal ass-kicking my father had been talking about for years, and that he’d lose his job for getting a 2-day old test car stolen, I dropped the stuff I was carrying and sprinted out into the parking lot, in the hopes of at least telling the police which direction the car was headed.

    At that point I’d noticed the car was in fact still in the parking lot, about 30 feet directly backwards from where I’d parked it. Turned out I’d forgotten to set the parking brake on this manual transmission car, and it started rolling out of view immediately after I got out.

    Thankfully it decided to stop before it rolled into traffic; if that’d happened, I’m pretty sure I’d be about 20 years into my big dirt nap.

  • Magdalen

    I had a car stolen in West Philly. It was subsequently illegally parked someplace else in the city; why this didn’t help me recover it, I don’t recall. What I do remember is that I had to pay the City of Philadelphia $15 to get a copy of the police report so that I could supply that to a different city office and be absolved of the $25 fine for not paying a parking ticket that I didn’t get. Insult to injury, if you ask me.

  • JenBlake

    I had the grill stolen off the front of my 1989 Volkswagen Golf when we lived in an apartment complex in Cary, NC. The police didn’t even want to fill out a police report because it was so odd. I guess the guys living in the next apartment complex over needed parts for their VW.

    I also had all my sporting equipment stolen from my car when I was in college and had to carry it around with me. They got 2 tennis rackets, a set of new ladies golf clubs, my racqetball racket and various paraphenalia to go with the equipment. Turns out they sold it all to Play it Again sports, who refused to tell me or the police who bought it, despite being able to describe all the items on the phone prior to coming in the store, then rooting through the racks and finding my racquetball racket with the faded spot in the shape of an armadillo sticker that I could not possibly have fabricated. I know for almost a fact it was my lying neighbor who got away with it, but justice was served when the police kicked his door in a few weeks later at 3am for other reasons.

    My husband was genius enough to intall a new CD player in his car in the parking lot of his (Section 8) apartment when he was a poor college student. Not surprisingly, all the attention he garnered while doing the install resulted in a short lived stereo for him, and a very merry weekend for someone else, who also stole all 75 Christian CDs he had in the car. The kicker: they pried his glove box open to check in there, damaging it pretty badly- all the while it did NOT even have a locking mechanism, just one of those little buttons you turn to open. I think that was what made him the maddest was the rudeness of prying the glovebox unnecessarily.

    So, we too feel your pain.

  • Bonnie B.

    I’m lucky to have only had one instance of theft…that’s what I get for driving crappy cars…no one’s interested in looking inside.

    My boyfriend and I went to a movie at the Orpheum here in Memphis, and parked at the Autozone corporate complex a few blocks away.

    We came back, dodging the endless stream of homeless beggars, to find a dent in the back door where they’d pried the lock, and all of the papers in the center console strewn all over the passenger seat. They’d taken his two-way radios (otherwise known as REALLY EXPENSIVE walkie-talkies). The cops were like, “Oh, well. Nothin’ we can do. Sorry, folks.”

    The weirdest part is that there was a roll of quarters in PLAIN VIEW that they left alone. I guess our money wasn’t good enough for them?

  • Chloe

    Guess I’ve been lucky over the years. Recently moved into a gated community and it was there that my unlocked car was rifled – everyone had told me, “hey, we’re safe here, no need to lock your car – leave your purse there.” Not THAT dumb.

    You never know though and I like to believe in human kindness.

    Some years ago, at the end of a debauched week in Key West, I looked for my return air ticket and it was nowhere to be found. I asked at the United counter in the Miami airport if they had a lost and found, and they laughed at me – said I was looking at paying $800 to fly home, but lo and behold, my ticket was in the lost and found.

  • Bies

    A friend of mine lives in a pretty nice condominium complex and last year she was driving this really old beat up SUV. It was not the kind of car you looked at and thought “hey let’s break into that one”. Well one morning when we getting in it to head to school she noticed that her door handle was bent funny and when we tried to roll down the windows hers wouldn’t. Upon further inspection we saw that the car was bent back and the paint was chipped off near the window where someone had obviously stuck a lock pick in. After that we started searching the car to see what if anything was missing. That was the best part the only thing they stole was a large collection of change sitting in her ash tray and her phone charger. They didn’t take her hundreds of dollars worth of cds or her cd player or even the 50 dollars she left in the center console in case of emergencies no all they took was 5 dollars worth of change and a charger that didn’t even work anymore.

  • mamarb

    Last year I was picking up my kids from preschool and heading straight out of town from there. I was preoccupied with getting their gear into my hatchback when my daughter said, “Mama, what is that glass all over?” and I looked around and saw my smashed passenger window. The f-ers stole my purse (not my stereo or ipod, luckily), leaving me peniless and without ID for our road trip, and almost one year to the day later, I’m still dealing with the resultant identity theft.

    I hope Leta wasn’t too traumatized by seeing the damage. My daughter is still worried about the “bad guys” who did that to us.

  • pixelchick

    I had a credit card stolen that I shared with my mother, cause I didn’t have enought credit to get one on my own. She is a nosy person and was always checking on what I was spending my money on. She would call me up and yell at me for going to bars all the time.

    One time she called she very wearly asked if I had signed up for an online match making service. I currently had a boyfriend, but when she told me the name, I started laughing harder cause it was a different kind of match making service for swingers.

    So thanks to her nosyness I was able to reverse the charges in time.

  • scritchscratchtiger

    We had a great big, heavy central heating radiator sitting on our driveway. We got home to a black trail (the gunky contents of the radiator) up the drive to where it was obviously loaded onto a truck.
    I’m glad they took it.
    It was huge, very very heavy and we were only going to take it to the tip (and it would have leaked in the car and caused us injuries in the process).
    The irony is, if the thieves had asked, I’d have paid them to take it away. Because they didn’t ask, I hope they pulled muscles, slipped discs and developed a hernia.

  • brandy

    Many years ago when I lived in what is now a posh neighborhood in Vancouver I came home to find my two kittens locked in the bathroom. Odd I thought, then noticed one of the tiny little windows I had was open and propped next to where it should be closed. I looked around and realised that someone had broken in and stole our VCR, which was a paint spattered half broken piece of crap anyhow. I freaked out. A officer on a bicycle(how very Vancouver!) came and basically was like “yeah that sucks” three hours later I went to get my camera out of the camera bag..only to remember that I had left my camera on the desk. It was gone along with the beautiful zoom lens on it.
    The next day I was sleeping in and heard the door open, the chain pull and realised that: the thief had the key! I hadn’t even thought about the fact that A: the window was about 10″x8″ and that the door had been locked when I got home. I moved out that day.
    I did think it was nice that the thief locked my kittens in the bathroom so they wouldn’t escape.

    With cars I’ve had 5 break ins. Including one where they took the 5 burned cds but not the 2 grand worth of speakers or the power tools. Another time they took all the change in the cup holder but not the wallet with 75 bucks in it that my ex forgot to take out of glove compartment.

  • Anush

    I’ve never had a car stolen before, but I think it’s even more insulting when someone steals your bicycle. A friend of mine once left his bike outside my dorm, “just for a moment,” and when he came back it was of course gone. The best part was, the thief left his own run-down bicycle on the stand (taking the lock). My friend had to try very hard to see the bright side of this this, since it was entirely his fault.

  • scritchscratchtiger

    We had a great big, heavy central heating radiator sitting on our driveway. We got home to a black trail (the gunky contents of the radiator) up the drive to where it was loaded onto a truck.
    I’m glad they took it, it was huge and very very heavy and we were only going to take it to the tip (and it would have leaked in the car and caused us injuries in the process). The irony is, if the thieves had asked, I’d have paid them to take it away. Because they didn’t ask, I hope they pulled muscles or developed a hernia.

  • Valette

    A friend once had his small Mazda stolen in Fairbanks, Alaska. They burnt cigarette holes all over the upholstry, tore out the $2000 sound system, took it off-roading, and strapped a ton of lumber to the roof. Of his Mazda. He had the OnStar enabled so they could track it down, but when they finally found the car it was completely totalled.

  • ElegantGoose

    I had my car broken into a few years ago. The bastards went through all my stuff, but I don’t think they took anything. They just trashed my car. They didn’t damage it. They made it messy. Like I can’t do that on my own. Thanks a lot, buttwipes.

  • SadieBug

    Wow, the car thieves in Salt Lake, and most of your commenters’ locales, clearly need to be schooled by the pros who stole my little brother’s car. He drove a riced-out Acura Integra Type-R with about $10,000 worth of ridiculous upgrades (custom exhaust & suspension, spoon wheels, racing clutch, cold air intake, et fricking cetera), and it was stolen from the parking lot of his apartment complex while he slept.

    The car was recovered on a downtown street a week later, completely stripped. When I say “stripped,” I mean that the car had no ENGINE or HOOD or WASHER FLUID CONTAINER or GAS TANK or INTERIOR. It was literally a shell, except that the thieves had swapped out my brother’s suspension, tires and rims for the factory equipment so that they could roll it onto the street and leave it. The police told my brother he needed to get it off the street ASAP or receive a ticket, so he called a tow truck company and told them to meet him at the car’s location.

    My brother sat despondent, waiting for the tow truck in my mother’s borrowed Accord, when a carjacker approached the driver’s window, pointed a gun at my brother, and told him to get out. My brother was so exasperated at this point that he told the carjacker “you better fucking shoot me then, and you better fucking kill me when you do, because I am not giving you this car, and the police are on their way here already.” The man lowered the gun and ran off into the night.

    Then the tow truck driver arrived and refused to tow the car because the suspension was not bolted on and he deemed it unsafe. My brother had to call another towing company, with a flatbed.

  • leesavee

    Back in the early 90s, when I lived in a VERY sketchy area of Memphis (between Tiger High and Mid-town — you know where I mean, Heather), one of my friends had a car we jokingly called the “Millennium Falcon.” It was a 1979 Datsun 310 hatchback, in a icky shade of baby blue. It was in very bad shape — rust spots, large dents, and the back seat and passenger seat had been removed so that my friend, who was in a band, could haul his musical equipment. One of the tires had blown a few weeks before, so it was riding on three tires and a donut. It was a mess.

    One morning, my friend headed out the door to go to work, but came back in almost immediately with a look of utter horror on his face.

    “Imperial forces have taken the Millennium Falcon!” he said.

    And so it was…someone had stolen the most awful car I’ve ever seen! At least my friend got a good line out of it.

  • Audrey

    Two summers ago I was volunteering (i.e. working for free) at a shelter for homeless and runaway teens teaching them about their legal rights. After a class one Friday afternoon, I walked out to the parking lot to find my car missing. I asked the guard, whose job it is to guard the parking lot, where my car was, and she said, “Oh, two boys drove off in it.” After thanking her profusely for taking her job so seriously, I called the police, made the report and patiently waited three days before they recovered my car. Nothing was broken, no parts had been sold, and almost nothing had been stolen. In fact, they left me several gifts. In the backseat of my car I found a curling iron, two bowling balls, handcuffs, numerous bottles of lubricant and three used condoms. I still wander what role the curling iron and bowling balls played. Oh, and the one thing that they did steal from my car…my Nora Roberts romance novel on tape. They left all of my CD’s, my leather bag, and even some cash, but apparently Nora Roberts was just too tantalizing to leave behind.

    Heather, I empathize with you so much that I just admitted to listening to Nora Roberts books.

  • alirpa9

    Someone stole my ipod about a month ago… near to same scenario, except…

    We have these cracked out lesbian drug dealers who live across the street in a four-plex who I absolutely think are responsible. (I am not being dramatic here, they are lesbians, they walk, talk and act cracked out, and they sell drugs from their rental, I’ve seen it with my own eyes) They are so much more ghetto and scary then our sleepy little neighborhood and its driving the old ladies around here a little crazy. Case in point… They attemtped to breed pit bulls over the weekend in the courtyard!!!

  • Jennifer in Ohio

    I knew this guy in high school, his parents had this yellow Mercedes (as well as a couple of other less snooty cars). I thought they drove the Mercedes everywhere because they were showing off. Nope. They were trying to get it stolen. No one would take it. It was (if I remember correctly) an 350 Diesel. A diesel Mercedes (that much I remember quite clearly)- totally a contradiction if there ever was one. They got it supposedly because you get such great gas mileage with diesel. Well they hated it, and started leaving it outside unlocked….with the keys in it…with some cash on the dashboard. Hell, I think they even put a couple of bottles of Colt 45 on the passenger seat at one time. No one ever took that car.

    Some thief was totally missing out on that car. It was loaded beyond belief, and with the gas mileage on that thing, they could have starred in the world’s longest police chase.

  • Bitter Betty

    My car was stolen when I was in college and living in one of the ghettos surrounding the campus. Well, actually it was stolen from my boyfriends house after his car had the T-tops stolen from in front of my apartment a couple weeks prior. (We lived in separate but close ghettos.)

    This was mere hours after my license plates had been stolen the night before and I’d proceeded to laugh to the cops about the plates through the report-taking process. And of course I, in my hungover idiot 20-something wisdom, didn’t think it was necessary to oh, say, MOVE MY CAR from the very ghetto spot it had alreday been violated.

    The car was recovered a few days later but most of the crap I’d crammed into the entire thing after being home for X-mas vacation was gone, although one of the theives was nice enough to leave me his b.o. stained wifebeater behind in trade for my 3 loads of clean laundry, presents, stuff for my apartment, and a large collection of mix tapes.

    My dashboard was torn to hell to get my welded-in shitty stereo out and my only solace in the whole fucking nightmare was someone tore their flesh apart on jagged Datsun dashboard plastic after ripping my car apart. They bled all over the place but I was glad. I hope they got a nasty infection and lost an arm. Fuckers.

  • Moshizzle

    So, I have lurked on your site for a while but this post makes me want to share in the misery. I had my car broken into in Vancouver (the car crime capital of Canada!) but the car alarm and lack of anything in it scared off the thief. The fact that my boyfriend (now my ex) stayed in bed while I went to check is quite irrelevant.

    A far better story is about my good friend who also lives in Vancouver but in the gaybourhood, not the burbs. He had some guy break into his car and try to start it with a screwdriver. But my friend hadn’t driven that car for a year so the battery was dead. So the guy stole the faceplate instead. Then a homeless person decided to take up residence in the backseat of his car.

    So, it’s a good thing that you live in Utah and not the gaybourhood of Vancouver!

  • kcbelles

    Years and years ago, I shared a house in Pasadena, CA with a friend and my brother (it was a 3-bdrm). We went away for a holiday weekend only to return home to find that someone had broken into the house & stole stuff that was important to 20-somethings (records – remember those? our TV, some jewelry, food from the fridge! Stuff not worth a lot but maddening when it was gone.) Not only that, they slashed the seat of my Helix scooter and the seat of my brother’s Honda. We were all very sad, of course, but more than that, mad – and violated! We moved shortly thereafter – it just never felt like home again.

  • Rbelle

    There should be some honor amongst thieves. When my car was broken into they went in through the back, shattered the glass in all the back windows. Apparently they did this so they could sit in the front seat in relative comfort, with no glass cutting their tush. What they could not have known was at the time I was a nanny. I picked two little boys up from school every day. Of course, I could not do this with broken windows and glass, and their parents had to scramble. It was a scary and frustrating experience– to think that in the night someone was sitting in MY driveway, touching MY stuff. Yack.

  • denny272

    On the bright side, you know now that when you travel throw several lengthy novels in the trunk and hide all of your important papers (car registration, insurance cards, spare cash) in the books.

    No one will take them!

  • wen

    Alas, I have a few stories to share:

    1. Columbus, Ohio. Theives tried to steal our large potted plants. We had bought very large and heavy pots to discourage this. Alas, they dragged the 6 foot tall PLANTS and some dirt across the parking lot (and I assume into a car, as the dirt tracks stopped). They obviously couldn’t move the pots with the plants *in* them. They took the broom we had outside, too. Probably needed it to clean up. They also broke into my (then new) 1993 Honda Civic Hatchback. Broke the window, took my $30 boom box (I didn’t have a stereo yet) but left my cassette tapes. They obvoously needed something to play their tapes while they repotted the plants.

    2. Oakland, CA. Yes, people say we are lucky that it’s just property crime and not gunshot wounds, but here you go:

    Two years ago, my gf’s 1994 Del Sol gets broken into in a very nice neighborhood (Montclair). They somehow carefully opened the manual lock and took her stereo faceplate, then closed up the car. She still has no stereo.

    Which brings us to:

    3. Oakland, CA, take II. A few weeks ago, that same car was locked, with a club on the wheel, parked directly outside of our house (about 10 feet from the front door). Someone smashed the triangle window, and searched through the car. They got her out-of-sight iPod she’d forgotten to bring in and the car’s title (she’d just gotten it replaced and it was still in the car).

    Because this is not Utah, the cops declined to come out and take a report. They said if we really wanted to report it we could go online, print out a form and snail mail it in. We did. But still–breaking into a car is a friggin’ felony. You’d think they might want to take a look, lift a few fingerprints to compare with their Big File of Car Theif Prints or something.

    When we told our neighbor down the street about our misfortune, she said she, her oldest son and husband were watching TV when they saw their younger son drive off. She asked her older son, “hey where is your brother going?” and he didn’t know, so they figured he was just running out for gas or something. Alas, he walked into the room not more than 2 minutes later. Yes, they’d sat on the couch, looked out the front window, and watched someone drive the son’s car away.

    My aunt kept having her car stolen (in Jersey). She always knew that it’d been found when the cops came to the door. Typically she was suprised at how far it made it. (One time it had just been stolen and was in the shop getting repaired when someone stole it from the shop.)

  • diamond huynh

    Your Utah thief may have cared enough to break one of the smaller windows rather than the more expensive larger ones, but he’s not as caring as some of our professional San Francisco car thieves.

    My friend who is a major car-slob (papers, books, trash CD all over the place) always forgets that you shouldn’t leave things visible in your car here in SF had her car broken into and her stereo stolen (for the umpteenth time). She was lucky enough to get a caring considerate PROFESSIONAL car-breaker-inner. Her thief actually:

    1) didn’t scratch one inch of her dashboard or trim whilst breaking the window or stealing the stereo,
    2) swept most of the broken glass into a neat pile,
    3) cleaned her car of all the empty In-N-Out burger wrappers, bags and cups,
    4) neatly stacked all of her miscellaneous papers onto the passenger seat
    5) organized her glove box so that her records and registration and etc. were all in her car manual folder,
    6) AND gathered all the loose change from the floor and put it into her ashtray/change holder thingy.

    Of course, when MY car is broken into (I, the Anal Car Neat Freak who keeps NOTHING visible or valuable in my car), I come out to find that a huge 10-pound stone was chucked through the side passenger window. He threw the rock so hard it DENTED OUT THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CAR. FROM THE INSIDE. Plus all my change (a measly $2 in quarters) is gone.

    Anyway, sucks to hear that your iPod is gone. Can’t believe they’d break in right outside your house.

  • TiffyWiffyPooPooWanna

    My friend was VERY offended when her car was broken into and the thief stole her husband’s CDs, but none of her own. She felt very snubbed.

    Thieves are so inconsiderate.

  • Jen

    My brother & SIL’s car was broken into about a month ago – in broad daylight, in the middle of a bustling Target parking lot with about 20 gawkers standing nearby and an on-duty “security” officer just fifty feet away. The witnesses, it seems, didn’t intervene because they weren’t sure if the dozen or so people who eventually left in three separate cars (none of which were my brother’s Honda) actually owned the car they were trashing or not.

    The truly bizarre part of the story is that the thieves made off with all of their baby items: carseat, stroller, a package of diapers, some wipes, a few (dirty) bottles and pacifiers along with a bag of baby clothes my SIL was taking to consignment. Everything else (stereo, cell phone, CDs, etc.) were left inside the car undisturbed. My brother was informed by the police that there’s a black market setup for baby items, and that they’re a hot item to lift these days.

    I know, I don’t get it either.

  • NME foofoo

    This sparked a memorable moment when I parked next to my local high school where I was taking night courses. I must’ve forgotten something in the car, so when I returned I found some kids leaning on it smokin` & tokin`. I asked that they remove there butts and, after class that night, I discovered my side window bashed in. Nothing was stolen. The car had the cheap manufacturers ‘radio’. I did misplace my DAMNATION AND A DAY CD (by Cradle of filth). I asked several women whom tolerated my company enough to sit in the passenger seat while driving aroun L.A. if they’d seen (took) it. The gets me is that was an import which I can’t easily replace even through iTunes.

  • tabngillysmom

    In 1989, my 1988 Geo Spectrum (yes, you heard right) was parked overnight at the dealership for an oil change. Some lovely thief tried to break the side window leaving several very nice dents in the glass. When they were unable to break the side glass, they proceeded to throw a concrete block that they found beside the service department at the front windshield. After several failed attempts (and subsequent bouncing of the concrete block down the hood of my car) they finally had success and broke through the other side window. Their huge windfall? A broken radar detector that was in the pocket on the back of the driver seat. They didn’t even attempt to take the stereo. Not that it was worth having.

  • HeathsB

    when i was in la a few years back for work, i had a rental car broken into. they left my purse and wallet but took everything of value including passport, social security card, drivers license, credit cards, travel money, return ticket home, etc. so in the morning i stop to get some coffee at starbucks and try to pay for some joe before i realize i’ve been robbed. i’m standing at the counter holding my wallet in a stuppor repeating “wait where’s my cash?! where’s my credit card??!! i’ve been robbed, i’ve been robbed!” you know who cared?! NO ONE! starbucks wouldn’t even let me use their phone to call the police (in the olden days before cell phones). this was prior to 9/11 so i was allowed on my flight home with no photo id or ticket. and i’m pretty sure someone who works security for the hotel parking garage did the thiefing. they wrote 2 $600+ checks, one for electronics @ best buy and one for home depot.

  • LolipopFailure

    Right before our wedding my husband’s car was broken into. They smashed in his passenger window and stole his stereo along with all his cds (half of which were just burned copies). The same week they broke into several other cars in our lot, sometimes just smashing windows and taking nothing. My neighbor was another one of their victims. They stole nothing, but did $1300 worth of damage to his steering column, I assume while trying to steal the car.

    A week or so later we were on our balcony watching 4th of July fireworks. We were living downtown in a high rise at that time, so there were fireworks all around, and needless to say, plenty of people out on their balconies. I looked down to see a suspicious character creeping around a car lot right beneath me. As I watched, he opened several unlocked cars, got in, and got back out. Then he made his way across the street to an apartment building lot. I called the cops and alerted them to the fellow, as I watched him shop around the lot. Eventually he found a nice mustang that was unlocked. I had a clear view of him the entire time as I watched him with my binoculars (something every high rise dweller needs) wrestle the stereo out of the car, and proceed to hide it in a bush as he continued to do more shopping. As he was looking for his next item the police (finally) showed up. They stopped, but he had nothing in his hands and acted like he was just passing through. My neighbor with the busted steering column was also out watching the show. Afraid the cop would drive off, we yelled out “That’s him officer! There’s a stereo in the bushes!” Sure enough, they found his stash and hauled him off. Also, the stereo was a nice 10 changer, so being over 300$ it became a felony.

    While he may or may not have been the same person that had broken into our car, it still felt like sweet revenge. Also, what kind of dumbass breaks into cars right under a highrise during a 4th of July show?

  • John Dickerson

    A few years ago we had a similar thing happen when a thief stole our portable CD player. (This was in a time before we had all of the small cute things in our life–children and iPods). He or she tossed everything around in the car which increased the sense of violation when we discovered it all the next morning.

    Now however we have children to toss everything around in the car. The upside to this though is that if someone tried to steal something again they’d be knocked out by the smell of the Scooby shake that leaked under the seat a year ago. It can’t be fully cleaned which means the spill has grown, molted and learned to shave. It really smells very very bad. In fact, it is this zone of funk that protects the car from theft. To get in to steal anything you’d have to wear a hazmat suit and that would make you conspicuous as you came lumbering down our street. Plus, those suits don’t really have pockets which means you’d have to carry everything you took in those oven-mitt like hand protectors and let me tell you an iPod is very difficult to operate when wearing those things. You end up completely unable to operate the wheel. You are only able to play your songs in alphabetical succession which leaves you at the mercy of the first thing on your playlist. If you are a parent your playlist might include kid songs which means you’re constantly having to listen to “ABC Learning Happy Song” which has been known to cause urban rampages and increased car thefts in Utah. I only know about this hazmat iPod problem because wearing the outfit is the only way I can tolerate the stench driving the kids to school in the morning. The kids wear the suits too. Hannah Anderson makes a lovely matching family set. The only downside is it’s also hard to eat a Scooby shake. We all keep spilling them.

  • Tara

    Ugh. That totally sucks.

    I had a ’93 Jeep Cherokee get stolen out of my apartment parking lot a while back (12 years ago?). I went out to go to work one morning and. . . another car was in my space, and my car was NOWHERE. I thought/hoped that the towing company that monitored our lot might have accidentally towed it away, but no such luck.

    The police found the car late the following night, with body damage, a broken window, the steering column busted open, the headliner sliced up and pulled down in spots, and all the contents missing (including CDs, cassettes and my mini-fridge from college, which I’d just gotten back from my sister). I had to start it with a pair of needle-nose pliers and sit on a towel over the glass-covered driver’s seat so I could drive it to the body shop for repairs. On the plus side, though, when I got the Jeep back from the shop 3 weeks later, it was in better shape than when I bought it in the first place.

    I also now know how to steal a Jeep Cherokee, as it is apparently ridiculously easy. Go figure. Oh, and locking the car didn’t make a damn bit of difference, at least not for me.

  • Franca

    when i was in college i had my 2-door hatchback honda civic broken into at my seemingly secure building in an ok area of LA.

    i had been living there for over 6 months when i realized the building was no longer as secure or family friendly as it was when i had moved in. but i failed to move out in time.

    so the morning before my mom arrives from argentina to see where her only daughter lives while going to college in a very strange and different country, i go down to my car to find both door locks broken (the douchebag thief in this case could not get into my car by destroying one lock so he went to the other one as well) and the dashboard completely ripped apart because the a-hole wanted to get the stereo. i had to replace the whole thing. i also had to replace one of the doors but that was just icing on the cake.

    but the thing that disturbed me the most is that he even found and took my teaser gun.

    Remember those from the early 90s? they would shock a person with minor electricity when touched and they sold them at the mall. i don’t think they sell them anymore, not sure if that’s a good or bad thing…

    what disturbed me about it was that i started thinking that it would suck even more if after getting it stolen the douchebag thief who lived in my building would use it to attack me with it. how ironic would that have been?

    i didn’t stay long to find out. i think i was out a month later.

    and it was really amusing (in a non-funny way, of course) for my mom to see that i had to go into the car through the trunk to open the door for her.
    real classy.

  • jeanie

    A friend of mine had a vintage VW, so she never locked it as the damage from breaking in would be too heartbreaking.

    One night out, she decided against driving home and caught a cab. When she came back the next morning, someone had gone into her car and slept in it. Then they tidied it for her and left a note thanking her.

  • juneyor

    That blows your radio got stolen. The last time i was moving we has left all the computer stuff out so that they we’re the last things to take. but not everything fit into one box so we split them up into two. But nothing matched so computer cords were in a box with the printer and vis verse. Well so someone decided to snag a box while we weren’t looking ( ok so we stopped to drink a few beers). While the moron got our printer they had none of the cords. kind of hard to sell it at the swap meet when you cant prove it works.

  • Phu

    I haven’t read all of the comments yet, but I think I’m a fair contender for the worst car luck ever. The timeline for my trusty 96 Accord is like so:
    May 2005: Upon owning the used car for less than a week, a gigantic SUV backs into my parked Accord in a gas station.
    Fall 2006: I move to Philadelphia, the city of brotherly shove, for grad school.
    August 2006: My car is stolen from the movie theater parking lot, and recovered by the FBI 2 hours west of here. Apparently it was used as a getaway car in a series of bank heists. I get my car back, only needing to fix the ignition where they had jammed a screwdriver.
    October 2006: My car is towed by the gas company for their ongoing construction project. Fine, I get that parking here is transient, and if they need to tow it, no problem. Problem: they didn’t keep any record of where they were towing cars, did not notify police, did not post any signs of where they were towing cars, just that they towed them. After reporting my car stolen, I found my car (well, the police found it), towed and basically left for dead between two abandoned buildings, in an overgrown lot that you couldn’t see from the street. Various Philadelphia scoundrel broke into my car using a wrench (thankfully, no broken windows) looking for shit to steal. Like the stale pack of skittles I had in the glove box. my parents were also in the process of moving, so I had some clothes stored (you know, just most of my sweaters and some custom-tailored suits, that’s all) in the trunk that I didn’t have the chance to take up to my tiny closet-sized apartment, all stolen. And the quilt that I had been working on for the past 3 years that was almost done. Also stolen.
    January, 2007: My parked car was hit by a FIRETRUCK. WHAT????? It was parked in South-ish Philly, where I usually park it, at a corner, but not at the very edge. In fact, there was room for another car in front of me. I get to my car today, and awesome! The bumper was DETACHED and ON THE GROUND. At least they left a note. (apparently the Philadelphia Fire Department hit my car).

    I’m totally getting rid of my car next year.

  • John

    I had my home broken into on January 3rd, 2005. I walked into the house and noticed the blinds over the back door were flapping in the breeze. The back door had been torn up and the glass removed.

    Then I noticed one of my suits on the dinning room floor. I then figured out I had been robbed. I went around the house to find every drawer opened, tv’s missing, checkbook and credit cards gone, laptop gone, external hard drive missing, but the cable was still there. He had stolen all of my suits, don’t get this, we were not the same size.

    I then went down stairs to find my 36 in tv face down on the floor. I am assuming the idiot tried to lift it by himself and it wound up falling to the ground. All of the electronics were unplugged and off to the side. Then I realized, that they could still be there, so I quickly got out of there and called the police from the driveway.

    I found a package had been delivered to my house. I assume the delivery driver rang the door bell and frightened off the thief.

    Two weeks later, as I was getting the house alarm installed, I caught the thief breaking into the neighbors house with a cop writing a ticket to someone less than 100 yards away. Not that bright. He did two years.

    The worse news out of all of this, he lives in the home behind me. Or should I say he lives off the person living in the house behind me. He is back after getting out of prison.

    Sorry about losing your iPod.

  • pacalaga

    My car was stolen a few years ago, with the camper attached. The thieves took everything that wasn’t nailed down, including a bag of dirty laundry, and a bag of left shoes. (My husband had a cast on his right foot at the time.) I do hope it was helpful to them, and that they enjoyed my dirty undies.

  • Tricia J

    My husband left his keys in his truck overnight on a regular basis. After much screaming and warning that it would get stolen one day, I gave up. He went to go to work one morning, and found that all the change he kept inside the change holder was all over the front seat. Then he noticed that it was just the pennies that were left. The thief had sifted through handsful of change to get everything but the pennies, and left the car keys. I love Utah!

  • Amy

    I recently had my stuff stolen from the back of my car (clever me for leaving it in there) – the stupid thing was they only stole things that were worth anything to me, like framed photos, mix CDs my friend had made me, a ten year old Discman that anyone but me would be embarrassed to own. I have no idea why they even bothered but Auckland has a big problem with bored kids roaming the streets looking for something to maim!

  • hmb1974

    I feel for you Heather. My husband’s wallet was stolen out of his unlocked car on Saturday night. Worst part…I was asleep/passed out from one too many martinis not 10 feet away, but never woke up. The stupid thieves were so confounded by the lock on his attache case (factory preset 000 was never changed) that they decided to smash it open. The grand haul…$72 dollars and 30 minutes of cancelling credit cards and debit cards (and one ugly attache case that I’m happy was destroyed).

    The friendly police officer who took our report actually advised that we walk around the block because usually the thieves only take the cash and throw away the rest of the wallet. If they’re going to do that, couldn’t they at least throw it in our yard? They left the smashed attache case in the car. If they’re trying to steal my husband’s identity they’re welcome to it bad credit and all!

    I am just lucky that I rolled up my windows and locked my doors that night since I often don’t and leave my purse and Ipod in full view. We’ve lived in the same place for 9 years and never had a problem. I’m fanatical about locking my car doors now though in addition to bringing my purse and Ipod in every night.

  • Jen

    The last time someone broke into my car (although I don’t really count the first time as “breaking in” because I bought into the whole Utah mentality and left it unlocked all the time), they only smashed a small window, but they also stole the faceplate off my stereo. They must’ve been conflicted about the whole “good person/bad person” thing …

  • Marbenais

    The most bizarre thief I’ve encountered stole my Metro SmartTrip card with about ten dollars in value on it and about a hundred dollars in cash from my wallet — leaving the credit cards, electronic identification cards for a secure securities facility, digital camera, iPod, and other highly visible valuables. This was at a small party several years ago, and I’ve never been able to find out who actually stole my stuff, but I’m happy that he or she left my ID cards for work.

  • Jill – GlossyVeneer

    I’ve had my car broken into twice, both times were in Utah. Once they stole the stereo (breaking out the windshield and the driver’s side window to get in) and the other time a t-shirt was stolen from the backseat. It wasn’t even a nice t-shirt, it was a freebie shirt advertising my aunt’s business. Morons!

  • livinthedream75

    Living in Boise, Idaho you can get away with leaving your car doors unlocked once in a while. But living in the north end of town, is a different story. Really nice neighborhood, but lately it’s been a hot zone for bored teenagers on weekend nights. I was coming back from a Cinco de Mayo party at a friends house early Sunday morning. I had an armful of bowls and a bottle of tequila I was taking back to the house. I must’ve left the door unlocked because the next morning my case of 50 cd’s, my nice Bose in ear headphones and a half bag of tostito’s tortilla chips that I forgot to grab were stolen. I had a nice red leather fossil briefcase and a cute pair of calvin klein shoes in the back seat that were left untouched. So it was either a band of yound boys with no girlfriends or a chick with no fashion sense.