21 November 2011

Crime Victim

It had been a long work week, I had left work late, made the walk over to the Marta station, took the southbound train to Five Points, and the eastbound train to the Chandler Park/Edgewood Station. By the time I got to the Park and Ride lot it was about 7:45 I was so ready to go start my weekend, but as I walked up to my car the emergency lights were flashing. My brain was trying to wrap my head around why my emergency flashers were going off and how did I possibly manage to leave them on. My biggest worry was if the battery had drained down with them running all day. There was a notice on the windshield under the wiper about unattended vehicles and to call the police which I found confusing. I was tired and wasn't thinking all that clearly. But when I got in the car to start up the engine and found that the ignition was torn apart along with all the plastic around the steering column the light started to dawn. About that time one of MARTA's finest shown a light on me and asked me in a pleasant but authoritative tone if that was my vehicle. After getting out and having my identify and ownership verified, the police took my report and waited with me while the tow truck arrived. They did ask if I wanted the car fingerprinted and then pointed out I'd already been in it. Not having the fingerprints of any possible suspects or even having any suspects in mind I declined. In fact they asked me to decline in writing. I am not sure if that was the right thing to do or not. I got the feeling they didn't want to or felt it wouldn't matter and I had no idea of the significance of doing it or not. I still don't. I need to learn to ask more questions.
The tow service given me by the police was going to take an hour and a half, a friend recommended that I call Allstate since I was a customer, even though I didn't have their motor-club service. Allstate arranged a reasonable tow in about 45 minutes. As I was waiting I walked around the car and found the passenger side window had been pried outward which is how they gained access to the vehicle... more damage. As I sat in the cold waiting on the tow to arrive I noticed a bolder sized rock in the passenger side floorboard and idly wondered if that was to smash a window or if they were using that as leverage to smash the ignition lock.
The police office that waited with me was very courteous and seem pretty offended that someone had committed a crime in her lot. She seemed to think I was taking it pretty well and I guess I did, at least at first. The truth is that it's been worrying at me all weekend. It's the money and a sense of violation and frustration. Ironically the ignition they destroyed was just a week old. I'd just had it replace because it had worn out and the key was stuck. Right now I am out the $75 I've already paid to have it towed to Summit Auto Service. I suspect the guys over there will be calling me with the bad news later today. Insurance isn't going to pay for anything because I only carry liability. It's a 95 Accord and it wouldn't make sense to have a comprehensive policy.
I am frustrated with the whole thing and it's caused a lot of anxiety. It's inconvenient and money issue around the holidays are never any fun. On the other hand, it's just a car, I'm healthy, happy, life is going my way, and I am profoundly grateful for the multiple friends who either looked out after me this weekend or offered to help. Because of them I did have a nice weekend and perhaps was even more conscious than usual that it was a nice weekend. Certainly next time I drive somewhere in my own vehicle I am going to be consciously appreciative of the fact.
Note: In talking to the MARTA officer, she mentioned that the north lot at the Chandler Station might be the safer lot because of higher activity levels. This happened in the south lot where as you might guess, I will not be parking again.
Update: It looks like I will just need another new ignition. Yeah, to replace the one I put in last week. When  the shop called me with the diagnosis on my car, they said it was that I needed to live in a better neighborhood. I love their sense of humor and I am really grateful the would be thieves didn't successfully steal my car. Now that would be a problem.

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