Thursday, May 18, 2006

"No sign of theft"

Just over two weeks ago, our 1995 Neon was stolen, taken for a joyride, and, as is almost always the case in St. Louis, intentionally crashed before abandoned. The aftermath, for the most part, was one long nightmare. Before we could see our car, we had to once again talk to the police, who tried to get us to admit to crashing our car and fleeing the scene. That was a two hour nightmare in which the detective told us a number of lies, including that she had sent someone down to the impound lot to check our car and that there were no signs of theft. (When we finally got to see the car, we found the steering column exposed, the ignition lock busted up, and ignition lock fragments all over the floor of the car.) At some point, I called my dad, who is an attorney, a retired FBI agent, and a retired judge, and he told me how to push back. He also told me it would piss the detective off, but that she'd give us the paperwork to get our car. She got pissed off, but she did let us go shortly after. She wouldn't, however, ever give us a theft report number. I had to call back to ask for one and she told me there wasn't one. I then asked if she'd had someone look at the car because, contrary to what she'd told us earlier, there were clear signs of theft. She said someone would look into it, and called the next day to tell us that the car had been stolen. She then told my wife that the accident report would also serve as our theft report. When we picked it up five days later, it didn't. We've finally gotten it all resolved, but it took the intervention of the Crime Victims' Advocacy Association.

And here, for your enjoyment, are a few more pictures of the non-existent signs of theft: The ignition, in b&w:

A pulled back view. Note the small item on the floor mat above the black rectangle of rubber -- that's the biggest piece of the ignition lock. Apparently it's too small for a St. Louis Police officer to notice. But then, they assumed I've driven the car for the past three years with the steering column and ignition lock in the state you see above.


At 7:09 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Dude, I so feel your pain.

See this, for example.

At 9:26 AM, Blogger John said...

So what happened? Did they find it? Was it trashed?

We'd done a good amount of repair/upkeep work on the Neon in the past 15 months, including new tires less than two weeks before it was stolen. Our insurance agent tells us we'll get refunded for the tires and they'll give us a percentage of the various recent repairs.

At 8:49 PM, Blogger lisa schamess said...

joooooohhhhhn!!! That is unbelieveable!

You know, for the first time in a long time I actually think maybe DC is better than other cities in some respect. Because detectives here would never for a split second doubt that a car had been stolen and totaled when it had been, well, stolen and totaled. Whoa. Dude.

Congratulations on the new car. And on other good works. Dr. Merys's dissertation sounds like it is very much my cup of tea. Where/how does one communicate with the good new doctor?

At 5:10 PM, Blogger John said...

One would think St. Louis detectives would be conditioned like DC ones because car theft for joy riding is common here. A theory we've had, actually, is that since they can't reduce the number of car which do get stolen, they're trying to keep the numbers down by reducing the number of reported car thefts. I've run into a few other people with similar stories this spring -- at the center of all of them is a marked lack of interest by the police in identifying stolen cars as stolen.


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