Thursday, April 13, 2006

Case #99-234665

Yesterday (Wednesday) morning we awoke to find that Tuuli's car was missing from the its accustomed place in front of our house. Apparently, it had been stolen.

The car, a 1995 Subaru AWD Legacy wagon, was no beauty. With trim pieces missing here and there, a faded paint job and worn-out tires, it's the kind of vehicle you could leave unlocked, with the keys in the ignition, and the bad guys would just keep walking until they came to the next Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, the two most-stolen cars in the Seattle area.

For some reason, however, they wanted this car. There was nothing of personal value inside. The interior was filthy, with dog hair, mud and other junk related to my wife's pet-sitting business. Nobody was taking this car to a chop-shop. We're not going to find it somewhere on cinder-blocks with its wheels and tires missing. I wouldn't give you 50 cents for the stereo.

So yes, one does wonder why it was this car that was stolen. The simple answer is that it was just a crime of opportunity, probably done by some local kids. Walking down the street in the middle of the night, checking every car on the street for unlocked doors. Looking for something in the glove compartment or the back seat that they could grab. Maybe someone had experience with a similar car and knew how to get it started. Or maybe someone put a little more thought into it and decided that a ten-year old Subaru wagon was the perfect low-profile, non-descript sort of car with which to commit other crimes. Chances are we'll never know.

But the really unfortunate part is what a pinch this puts us in logistically. Like most families, we simply need two cars. And because money is tight right now, the idea of renting a car for $50 or $60 a day is not too palatable (our insurance reimbursement for rentals tops out at $20 a day). And when the car is found (almost 90% of cars stolen in Seattle are recovered), it undoubtedly will have some damage. It may have been crashed into another car and thus be totalled, or it could just have had its ignition punched. The former scenario will get us a couple thousand from the insurance company, the latter a few days in the shop and the cost of our deductible. If it turns out that we need to buy a replacement vehicle, that is going to be a huge hit.

I'm not really mad that the car was stolen. That happens all the time and we just have to deal with it. But nothing, and especially nothing bad, ever occurs in a vacuum and this has just been a tough week, for a lot of reasons. This was just the topping on the cake, as they say.

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