Lock the doors

Screaming tulips

Whew.  It was a bad week.

My health is fine but I do have a story to tell and there were moments in it that I felt like the screaming tulips pictured above.

Last Thursday started out innocently with a cab ride to Corona, Queens to pick up my new company car.  I’ve been waiting months and finally got the call on Monday morning it was ready.  I was thrilled and made my way back to NY a day early from meetings in Pennsylvania to go get it.  The thing about new cars is they don’t fill the tank with much gas.  My first chore was to find a station.

I drove seven blocks in “new car heaven” and pulled into a Hess station on Northern Blvd.  It was cold out but not that biting cold most days have been haunted by.  I jumped out and pumped the gas… never even left the side of my car.  The gas tank is on the passenger side.  Unbeknownst to me, someone crawled along the side of the car, opened the drivers side door, snuck in and removed my bag which was on the passenger side.  EVERYTHING was in that bag.  From my favorite hat to all of my credit cards, phone, EZpass, iPod, license, keys to my home and money.   I didn’t notice anything until I got back in my car and noted the bag missing…. and even then didn’t realize what had happened for a bit.  When it sunk in, I felt so violated.  The police came but they were bored by the crime.  Admittedly, there was nothing to do.  No witnesses, no camera, nothing but the woman before them in a state of confusion.   It was as though the wind had committed the crime.

I insisted we file a report just the same.

I made my way back to Manhattan and got back into my apartment with the help of my super and sister – who is also super in her own way.  Locks were changed, cards canceled and the afternoon was spent at the DMV.

As it turns out the thieves didn’t just run with the bag.  They bought gas with my credit card and watched as I searched for my bag. Suddenly I wasn’t just violated but played the fool.  I also learned from my friends the crime itself isn’t anything new.  I missed the warnings on the news.

So, lock your car doors when pumping gas.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t leave the side of your car you can still be vulnerable.  I can’t imagine what kind of people do this.  I don’t really want to know.

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31 Responses to Lock the doors

  1. Dean B says:

    Oh no, sorry this happened to you. I miss city-living, but when I read something like this, I’m suddenly reminded that perhaps, it’s better to live in a zero crime rate place, especially when you have a young child. Stay safe!

    • maesprose says:

      Dean – make sure your car doors are locked anyway. As it turns out, my friends from “small towns” knew all about this crime. I was the one uninformed.

  2. Gary Holmes says:

    Ugh. Sorry to hear this. Thanks for the warning.

  3. Coleen says:

    I pumped gas yesterday and did as you suggest. It is a habit I’ll have to adopt. As for what kind of people do this sort of thing…all kinds…with stories to tell. I’m not defending them…just aware that we could be them and they could be us. No good comes from taking someone elses things…I hope your things are retrieved but at least they did not take anything that could not be replaced. Good luck with the new car…may you have many good encounters in it.

    • maesprose says:

      Yes, looking forward to a “good” encounter in it. It is beautiful.

      Leave it to you to try and find some measure of equalizing kindness. Yes, I’m sure the “story” behind finding out why would not be good.

  4. dear Mae,

    I can just imagine how you felt when you realized your purse was gone – kind of like your whole insides collapsing. I am so sorry it happened to you. glad your were able to get all in some semblance of order, and that you insisted on filing a police report. it pissed me off when I read, “the police came but they were bored by the crime.” what kind of attitude was THAT to those who are held to the mission “to protect and to serve”? even just a bit of compassion and reassurance would have gone a long way.

    much love and light,

    Karen xoxo

    • maesprose says:

      Thank you Karen. Yes, my insides did collapse. It was frightening to be put in such a position. I’m still working through the details as the “new” cards come in.

  5. nancyspoint says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. What a horrible ordeal and the reaction of the police didn’t help. I appreciate that you shared this experience with us. I will keep your story and advice in mind from now on whenever I pump gas. It’s sad that we need to be wary and on guard about such things. And I hope you’re enjoying the new company car despite the way things started out.

    • maesprose says:

      It’s a story that could happen any place someone thinks what’s yours should be theirs. I wrote about it here so that you would lock your doors when pumping gas. I was shocked as to how many people had it happen to them or had heard about it.

      I’m going to enjoy the car – I just need to get through the hump of reorganizing.

  6. Greg says:

    That’s shit.
    I guess you just have to make sure you lock your doors and keep your bag with you at all times.
    Hope you’ve exhausted your bad luck supply with this one.

  7. K C Eames says:

    Glad you are okay. Enjoy the car and don’t let them steal your spirit.

  8. LB says:

    Violated is right! I am so sorry but even more, am angry for you!
    It is a fleeting benefit to the crook because of course all cards will be cancelled, and all things stolen replaced, but it is hours of work and aggravation for the victim.
    Good for you for insisting on the report being filed. Without that, how will we know the true extent of the crime.
    Here’s hoping for better days ahead … and yes! the doors will be locked!
    Damn that makes me mad!

    • maesprose says:

      I’m happy to just pass the good advice along. LOCK YOUR CAR DOORS! I keep locking the doors now numerous times as I walk away from the car. I’m still putting my life together even now.

      Better days have to be ahead!

  9. elroyjones says:

    Mae, thanks very much for this. It wouldn’t have occurred to me otherwise. I hope something wonderful happens to you to restore balance as remedy for the crime.

  10. maesprose says:

    Just lock your car doors and keep your “stuff” where it belongs!

  11. Daile says:

    Oh Mae that is horrible!!! I’m sorry to hear that happened. I once had someone break into my house and steal my handbag while I was sleeping upstairs… Violated is the right word. I actually drive along with my car doors locked which my friends laugh at but I have the fear that someone will take my handbag while I’m stopped at a traffic light. It may seem overly cautious but when I heat stories like this I am glad it’s something I do.

    • maesprose says:

      I don’t think you are overly cautious. Once this happened to me, suddenly I heard scads of stories that said women’s handbags were stolen in the exact way that you fear yours will be. As far as someone breaking into your home while you were sleeping – I am relieved you were not harmedl. You had better teach Bixby to be a bit assertive!

  12. The bad people, not to be confused with people in general, are really getting braver and committing more and more crimes. That’s why I always take my keys out with me and lock my car doors and I live in a small town of less than 5,000 people.

    • maesprose says:

      There seems to be a disconnect and I’m not sure how or why this is happening. There is still human kindness but there are cold hearts being cultivated in our midst. You keep locking your doors!

  13. marydpierce says:

    I am sad and angry for you. It is a violation. I’m also appreciative that you chose to share this. I generally lock my car whenever I leave it, but I would never have thought to lock it WHILE I’m pumping gas. I wouldn’t have thought someone would be that bold and brazen. Damn!!

  14. maesprose says:

    I keep playing the crime in my head and know there is no way I would have avoided this. Up until now, I would never have locked the car while standing next to it.

  15. John says:

    What a horrible story … though, as you’ve mentioned, it’s not new. The news has had many stories of these crimes — some stations have cameras, and the news shows the act. Sadly, it’s typically women who are the victims. This is not an “I told you so”, because, of course, I never have … but, it’s always best these days to roll up the windows and lock the doors any time you’re out of the car, even if it is just for one minute. You and I are probably among the last generation where we can remember leaving doors and windows open, in houses and cars, with little worry or fear. It’s a sad commentary on where we’ve gone….

    I was mugged once … so I can understand the sense of violation; while it’s not as horrific as being raped, it is, still, in its own way, a sort of rape … something being taken from you.

    I’m sorry this happened to you …

  16. tw says:

    Sorry this happened to you Mae. Some people have no morals and even fewer ethics. We get this problem here too, not so much in gas stations because they have CCTV, but we have people in some cities who’ll try to steal your car as you scrape the ice from it if you leave the keys in the ignition and engine running. It beggars belief!

  17. Horrible… So sorry this happened. My GPS was stolen from my car which was sitting at the end of my sidewalk. That was minor in comparison to your loss. It does make one feel vulnerable, though.

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