The story of my stolen car doesn’t begin two weeks ago, when it was actually stolen. Like most stories, it’s much deeper than that. That’s what she said.
Ahem. The story of my stolen car really begins back in August of 2012, a few months after I made the biggest purchase of my life: my first home. I officially closed on my home in June of 2014. In attempts to find ways to save money, I looked at my then-car—a 2008 Dodge Magnum R/T with the Hemi. That engine purred, which was nice to hear, since I spent so much time standing at gas station pumps. Gas prices were well over $3, and my car drank gas.
At its best, I was getting maybe 12 miles to the gallon in the city and 14 on the highway. But I lived, worked and played in D.C. All of my driving was city driving, so I spent a mint on gas. I figured that one way I could save money was to trade it in and get a car with substantially better gas mileage.
Also, I got tired of getting pulled over. Apparently my Dodge Magnum was the D-boy car of choice and was always being stolen in D.C., because I was pulled over—no lie—at least 10 times in the car and then let go once they realized I was just another black man trying to make it in America with legit registration and up-to-date insurance.
So one August day, I took my Magnum to the car dealership and traded in that bad boy for an economically efficient, non-gas-guzzling Hyundai Sonata. My fuel efficiency immediately went up by, like, 10 miles to the gallon. I was plussed. In back of my house, I have a parking space, and I’d typically park my car back there.
Fast-forward to April of 2017, and I finally had a fence in my backyard. This meant that I could no longer park my car in the rear. I was all on-street parking now, baby. Fast-forward to two weeks ago, when my lady, while trying to put our son into the car, dropped her car keys (and house keys) in the sewer drain in front of our house in case Pennywise needed a sandwich in the middle of the night. Or something. I went out and looked for the keys and never saw them, and it was pouring raining. My assumption, which I assume was a safe one, was that those keys became part of official black history that rainy Sunday afternoon.
So imagine my surprise when, three days later, we discovered that the car was missing. I already covered all of this here, so we’re going to skip the details and focus on the feelings ... and the code.
Listen, fam, I don’t know if you’re a criminal or not—chances are you’re not, unless you’re reading this from jail, in which case, welcome—but I think that criminals need to live by a certain code. ’Pacfically, IF YOU STEAL ANYBODY’S CAR, MAKE THAT SHIT GO POOF VAMOOSE SON OF A BITCH. Burn it. Erase it. Fuck it, I don’t know. While I was upset that my car was stolen—it is a violation, after all—the shit is insured. That’s why people GET insurance—in case shit happens. Shit happened. I’m like, cool, I’ll have to wait this shit out because this is D.C. Cars don’t come home here. Fine.
Still, though, stolen cars are super inconvenient. Not as inconvenient as a motherfucker breaking your window in, like, February, but still super inconvenient. Luckily, we’re a two-car household. And I’m like, cool, if the car doesn’t come back, insurance will just cut me a check, and boom: I’ll just put that toward the new car I’m about to buy. Even if they find it—outside chance—I’m getting rid of it because I don’t trust that car no mo’. I don’t know what your cousins did in and with my car. Point is, I already went and done got a new car. I’m back to being a two-car household because even if the police find it—fat chance—I’m chuckin’ the knucklehead.
Which brings us to yesterday, when the shenanigans ensued. After taking a morning trip to Target, where I spent $100 when I was only trying to spend $20 (you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout), I got a phone call from the Metropolitan Police Department telling me that they done went and found my damn car. Actually, let me say that more accurately: They happened upon my car because whoever stole it is an idiot ... assuming they still wanted to use it.
The police called me and told me where my car was located. It was probably three blocks from my home. If there weren’t a big-ass school in the middle, it was damn near a straight shot. I shot over to where 12 (the police) was at and saw my car ... parked in a handicapped spot. An ACTUAL handicapped spot. And it was ticketed, which was how this whole shit unfolded.
Apparently the thief parked the car around 8 a.m., and parking enforcement ticketed it for a whopping $250. THEN somebody who saw the car called the police ALSO because it was parked in a handicapped space, and apparently folks ’round there don’t play ’bout no handicapped spaces. The po-po showed up, ordered up a tow truck to have it impounded, then called in the license plate. Ruh-roh, this is a stolen vehicle. That’s when they called me.
Here’s where the fuckery afoot unfolds.
Keep in mind, it’s a stolen car. I didn’t know who stole it; neither did the police (more on this later), but we knew it wasn’t there earlier, and a thief who none of us were familiar with had left the car there maybe an hour and a half earlier and probably saw the cops as well.
I got there, and the police, who admittedly had better shit to be doing with their time than babysitting a stolen car, had me open the car with the spare key and assess any damage (there was none) and basically were like, call your insurance and have it towed from here. They were nice enough, but I think they were also wondering how come it wasn’t damaged. This became a running theme—was I sure the car was stolen? More on THAT later.
So again, we located a stolen car. What we had was a crime scene. Now, I’ve seen enough of motherfucking CSI to know that a crime scene should be, ya know, crime-scened and shit—dusted for prints and pictured and all that jazz. Did that happen? No. It didn’t. In fact, at this crime scene, the police just released my car to me and put their hands up on their hips and dipped. They bounced. So I was a sitting duck.
There was a tow truck on the way, but I couldn’t leave my car because whoever stole it MIGHT have been watching and knew that the car was about to be black history, so if I left and the cops left, they might have gotten the car. Because even if they didn’t have my keys, they’d somehow figured out how to use my car without the key and without breaking shit.
Also—and this is an interesting side note—when the police popped the trunk, my sons’ car seats were inside. The thieves literally removed the car seats, probably the most valuable things in the car—parents, can you feel me?—and just placed them in the trunk. This surprised me. I assumed that whoever stole the car would either steal the car seats or sell them, not gently place them in the trunk.
Look, I got some good car seats. We’re talking Graco Extend2Fit and shit. I got extendos! I had the Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 action going, too. I’m not saying I’m rocking Uppababy or Chicco, but those are some solid car seats. I’m just saying, I’m perplexed by the fact that they were still in the car.
Anyway, no crime scene happened. After roughly TWO hours of sitting there waiting—I did meet some nosy neighbors who had questions—I hauled the car to the dealer to get inspected for damages I couldn’t see and to find out if they’d make me an offer on it.
This shit all took FOREVER, by the way. I still don’t have my car back, and the dealership fucked up and told me the value of my car when they thought it wasn’t paid off and that I was trying to trade it in. Once I told them that I was trying to unload it, that they told me the value and that I’d take that in a check, buddy hit me with the “Yeah, don’t call me, I’ll call you.”
But wait—there’s more.
Round about 6 p.m. while I was taking my daughter to her Young Ninjas karate class, I got a call from the MPD investigator assigned to my case. This nigga.
This is long enough as it is, so I’ll give you some CliffsNotes: He implied that it wasn’t stolen, asked if I didn’t drunkenly just forget where I parked it IN A HANDICAPPED SPACE TWO WEEKS AGO, tells me that this case is very strange and wonders if it’s possible that I really know who took it—if anybody actually took it at all. He reluctantly said it was stolen while NOTING how odd it was that EACH AND EVERY ONE OF HIS OFFICERS WHO SHOWED UP TO SEE THAT CAR did not call it in to be crime-scened.
Every officer was working yesterday and available, and nobody thought to call in to have somebody come dust it for prints. I’m not saying he somehow said it was my fault—he did apologize—but in a case that already made no sense to him, that was another curveball. To him, who the hell steals a car and then—in his mind—brings it back?
I had to remind him that the person who stole it didn’t bring it back; they left it far enough from my house that it was on a street I’ve literally never been down before. I, too, think it’s odd that it was parked in a handicapped space, but shit, I didn’t do it; how am I at fault here? The patronizing condescension was irritating as hell. So basically, the police fucked the dog, and while the car was recovered, the possibility of gaining any evidence from it evaporated once the police left.
One might ask why I didn’t request to have it crime-scened. I ain’t a cop. That ain’t my job. The detective told me that the shit was basically a wrap and that they might as well close it, which—nope ... not until my insurance claim is closed.
And the coup de grace? The insurance company does not cover rekeying locks and shit. It’s not part of the policy. I kindly told them that was stupid. Assuming that thieves know where my car was typically parked and didn’t need the keys or whatever to get in and drive it, this might as well be a carjacking—covered—and they should cover the rekeying, or I’d be calling them back in a few days.
They’re gonna see what they can do. Read: not a damn thing.
Basically ... thanks, Obama.