I had one of those stranger-than-fiction days today.
This morning, as I walked out of my house, keys in hand, my car was not in its usual spot in the driveway. And it wasn’t in the garage, either.
Apparently, some fly-by-night wrecker must’ve shown up some time in the early morning hours and furtively towed my car away. And no, before anyone asks, it wasn’t repossessed. It was stolen. No signs of forced entry or a break-in. No broken glass. No tire marks.
It was taken, without my knowledge or permission, from my driveway and is now, more than likely, disassembled into a million pieces somewhere in Texas or in some out-of-the-way chop shop here in Louisiana.
My neighborhood is relatively safe, and the police tell me that Alexandria isn’t exactly a hotbed of car-nappers. One or two reports a month, and many of those end up being false reports– people whose cars have been repossessed or people who bartered their vehicle for drugs.
Whoever took my car must run a fairly sophisticated operation. I had a Mercedes SUV, which means they’d probably have to own a flatbed tow truck to move it, and considering this, it seems extremely unlikely this was anyone local. (I can account for both of my keys).
Much of my day was spent trying to figure out an alternate means of transportation. Because of my disability, I have to drive with hand controls (I didn’t realize there was a black market for hand controls), so finding a replacement is not the easiest thing in the world. Thankfully, I have an exceptional insurance agent, and he was able to find a rental for me up in Shreveport, which is covered by my policy.
A few lessons learned:
1. If you own a Mercedes and you think the little SOS feature will protect you against auto theft, make sure you have the system activated. Although GM’s OnStar feature will allow remote activation, apparently the same is not the case for Mercedes (which is really pathetic). Since I bought my car used, the system had been de-activated by the dealer.
2. Be suspicious of tow-trucks driving around in the middle of the night, especially if they’re towing a perfectly fine-looking vehicle.
3. Make sure your car doors are all locked. I honestly thought my car doors were locked, but apparently, at least one of them was somehow unlocked, which allowed someone to quietly put the car in neutral and back it out of the driveway.
4. If you can, park as far away from the street as possible.
So, anyway, if any of you know shady chop shop people, tell them to be on the look-out for an SUV with hand controls.
Oh and if, like me, you suddenly find yourself in the market for a new vehicle: BUY LOCAL.