Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lots of Car Crime Reports

Readers have been sending in stories about car shenanigans all week.  Not sure why this is going on, if it's an increase in incidents, or just an increase in people reporting them.

Unless you stay with your car 24/7, there's not much you can do while it's parked outside, but please keep an eye out for people who might be messing with cars and call 9-1-1 if you see something suspicious.  As the cops constantly remind us, there's nothing a thief or criminal hates more than nosy neighbors who call police.  Be sure to report any problems to the police, too, so they can look at the patterns.

And be sure to keep up the insurance payments.  This is a big city and odds are we'll all experience something, sometime, no matter what neighborhood you live in.  Still sucks, though.
  • On Wilson between Beacon and Malden:  "Wednesday night a car was keyed; last night a rusty wrench was thrown through the back window of a car."
  • Leland and Winthrop (photo above):  "I came out to this lovely surprise Thursday morning - a rock was thrown at my front windshield overnight. Not sure if others have been vandalized recently, but it didn't even appear to be a robbery attempt, just some jerk throwing a rock at my car. I know that this happens all over the city, I suppose it's just a reminder that the loiterers that troll up and down Leland have no regard for property...just a heads up to keep your eyes and ears open always!"
  • An abbreviated version from a reader:  "My boyfriend and I each have our own cars, but we take public transportation almost everywhere. On Saturday, we were coming out of our condo complex when we saw a tow truck backed up against his car with a sign on it that said "We buy used cars." He hadn't used the car in a few weeks, but it was legally parked in the lot.  My boyfriend asked the tow truck driver (who was in the process of trying to break into the car) what he was doing.

    The tow truck driver said the gentleman with him had asked him to tow away the car.  When my boyfriend said it was HIS car, the man said "It's mine. I bought it yesterday from some guy. The title is in the glove box, I just need to get into it and show the tow truck driver, but I forgot the keys."

    I called 911 and my boyfriend went to get the title.  A family member continued to talk to the tow truck driver to keep him there until the cops came.  The man claiming to own the car saw me on the phone and said "I'm going to go get the keys from my sister, then I'll prove that this is my car."  He left, never to return... of course.

    The cops arrived in less than 5 minutes, but the would-be thief was already gone. After filling out a police report we did not press charges on the tow truck driver. We believe that he was honestly caught in the middle of everything. We believe the thief was trying to convince him to break into the car and then had plans to knock him out and steal the car. Either that, or he thought he could convince the driver to take away the car, even though it didn't belong to him. Legally, a car can't be towed if the person asking for the tow does not own the car.  (Impounding doesn't count... obviously.)

    The cops mentioned that this happens frequently to nice cars (nicer cars than my boyfriend's), not necessarily just in Uptown. Unfortunately, there is really nothing that we could do. I believe that specific car was targeted because the thief thought he could hotwire the car (it was older than most cars in the parking lot). So just a head's up to those who don't use their cars very often or have older cars who can get hotwired easily."


  1. My car is parked in an open lot with a security camera. However, that wasn't enough to deter someone from smashing the windshield to smithereens. Nothing was stolen -- I think it was just maliciousness. I wish these jerks would figure out that most of us living in Uptown are not swimming in money -- otherwise we probably wouldn't live here or put up with these kinds of problems, I'm sad to say. For some of us, having to pay for a new windshield (which is necessary to avoid a ticket) may mean not being to also buy medicine. Thanks a lot.

  2. It's so sad to say.....I am just numb to the bizarre criminal crap around me. I just stepped out on the balcony of my Malden condo, and heard what amounted to be a 'west side story fight from hell'

    The wayward and desperate violence is so sickening and utterly disgusting.

  3. Here's another "towing" story for you: Last week around noon I drove my car into my legal parking space behind my home in East Ravenswood/South Andersonville/West Uptown (depending on which real estate agent you talk to).

    A minivan followed me into the lot, and a 40-ish white guy with glasses waved some papers at me and yelled "Your car is going to get towed." When I asked why he simply said "You'll Find Out" and drove away.

    I got nervous and gave the info to the cops - maybe he's a "scout" for a car-theft ring in the area? Don't know but I still do have the car. These stories are making me nervous all over again.

  4. To the person whose boyfriend's car was about to get towed away prompted by a car thief,

    Why did you not press charges against a two truck driver who does not follow the prescribed procedures? That makes him an accomplice to the attempted theft.

    If the person who claims to own the car does not have the title, then he must get that first before he can have the car towed away, mustn't he?

  5. I hear ya hawkmoon... my car got broken into recently. I was parked near Kenmore and Montrose. There was nothing to steal. They took a few tools and a hair curler set (pathetic).
    I haven't been able to replace the window so I've been forced to drive around with plastic and duct tape on my window all summer. It's gonna be a cold winter.

  6. thanks for the heads up. i will definitely keep my eyes peeled. did you try to reach the tow company's dispatch to verify that a truck was in fact called for and sent to the lot? if not, these guys were in cahoots and are porbably trying their scam with another car that appears to be unused for a couple weeks.

  7. The broken windshield in the picture is identical to what mine looked like two weeks ago. Let's try to get this guy and gift wrap him for the police. I would like to see him forced to repay us for the cost of his vandalism.