I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Stolen Car found. Not so fast, car owner. Welcome to the Stolen Car Economy

Where to recover your stolen car if found by Oakland P.D. People who tell me their stolen car stories in the Bay Area all remember this building, exclaiming as if haunted, "That's the place!"

We got the call at 3 a.m. The Oakland P.D. calling this early morning of Saturday, September 17, four days after it was stolen, jolting us awake and delivering the matters of fact: The car had been recovered and we need to get a release form from Piedmont P.D. then bring it to O.P.D. What? Why are they calling at this hour of the night? What follows will be an indoctrination into a not-so-hidden culture of indifference in a system that embraces the crime and fines the victims.

Around 9 a.m. I called Oakland P.D. to confirm that the car was recovered. "Just show up with your driver's license and we'll sign the car release to you." I double checked with Piedmont P.D. to make sure that they had to sign a release as well. Yup, they did. So, my son and I got two releases from two police departments.

The car had been towed to a car lot east of the Oakland airport. We drove out toward the airport and turned left to, well...parts of Oakland you'd not go unless you've had a car stolen and need to reclaim it--there to find "A & B Auto."

The wire fences, barbed at the tops, shows you that this building was designed when it had a different neighborhood than what it now has. Once inside the unlikely stone deco facade I paid $126 for towing and the one night the car spent in this car lot. "They'll drive the car out to you." I wait outside this Mad Max-like scenario and peered through the wire gate. There were six other people ahead of me. One lady discloses to another, "Mine was stolen last weekend." The other chimed, "I had mine stolen just a few days ago, " like it was a Mall trip and they had defective shoes in common. Another gentleman was off on a tirade about the whole system of car jacking and recovery. I tried not to listen. A ricketty car rolls out from within and the passengers walk out with stuff, presumably from their respective stolen vehicles. None look at all happy. The gentleman who drove them approaches us and I show him my paper work but he stops me, "We'll bring your car out to you." I already spent the better part of the morning on this quest and it's already one thirty.

Peer down to where the lines of perspective converge, right around that corner is where the cars are, just out of view.

Now this was also the Joe Ranft life celebration back at work and the story artists have an offering in the program we've rehearsed--that means that I've got to be there before the ceremonies begin at 3 p.m. I'm running out of time. Another car with a different guy rides out and while still in the car he asks me, "'You the Honda?" I said, yes. "I can't drive it out. They stole the battery." Great. He tells me that I should bring him a battery and I can drive the car out. I don't have one on me, obviously. I look at him wondering if he's expecting that I do. If I leave the car there another day I'll get charged for the day's stay. Where can I get a battery? "Pick and Pull, right around the corner."

The "Pick and Pull" is a car lot as well but their commerce is about selling what you find useful in the grand array of derelicts they have. You find it, pull it out of the car and a guy pokes his head through a window to look at your harvest and prices it, guestimate style. I asked for batteries. "Over there, " the guy taking admission ($2 per head) points to nearby wall with a makeshift shelf that held all manner of batteries. No guarantees any of them work. You can return them for store credit if they don't. I didn't even know what size battery I should get. I tried to get some advice from the locals but none of them were in an advising mood. I picked one and brought it back to A&B.

Once back (you have to go inside the offices again so they can radio in for someone to drive out to get you) I was finally driven inside. It was quite a sight. Huge covered car lots, with cars in all manner of disrepair and abuse, from all years and decades it seems. I asked how many cars they have in there. "Around four thousand maybe." I wonder if anyone's counting.

The contents of the glove box are all over the floor. The parking lights smashed in. Just for kicks apparently.

"There's your car." The Accord seemed to be in good shape from the outside. I peer in and I see that they tore out the wires under the steering column and dug out the ignition, like the hot wire jobs one sees in movies. We attached the battery and the electrical system kicked in. The car still won't turn over. "You're not going to be able to fix that here." Great. Now I'm almost out of time. I have to run out of here without the car.

"I have a friend who can help," this man informs me. I take this option and have the car towed to this guy's friend's place. $40 to move the car and $250 to fix the ignition and broken park lights--make it run. Made a decision under stress about matters I know little about. More stress. I had to leave.

While at the ceremony I start to worry if I didn't just open myself up yet to another scam. Likely, eh? But I caught a break. This man who said he'd take care of it seems to actually be doing the right thing. Next time I see him I ask about the cars inside those lots where my car was, were they all stolen cars? "Most of them."

"I see around fifty cars towed in there daily. Some days more. Some cars are found torn apart. Some burned. Some are found with gas cans in the trunk. They got scared off before they torched it." I was feeling strangely lucky about my car's fate. "If they want your car there's nothing you can do to stop them."

Just one of the covered lots full of stolen cars. These seem to be in much better shape than the others out in the open. Figure $31/day and do the math.

Oakland seems to deal with the results of this crime as a matter of course. The whole stolen car industry surrounding A&B Auto is a testament to how steady this feeding cycle is. With that kind of commerce you can surmise that, at least around this area, no one wants this interdependency to decline soon.

My advice? Don't own an early 90's model Honda Accord. They are likely easy to steal and very attractive to people who do. There might be a factor in just how many of these Hondas are out there, depreciated but still running. Affordable in their older age and reliable. The mechanic says that in the short morning he's had the car sitting in his secure driveway before my first visit he's had offers to buy it from him.

Now, I'm thinking maybe I should keep the darned thing.

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Blogger Gerald said...

OMG ronnie, that was an insane story. With all the alarm system and contraption on your car, you're right...if they want you're car, they're gonna take it. I can't help but have that unsafe feeling after reading your blog. Now that you found your car, I hope you and your son and go to sleep a little better.

12:36 PM

Anonymous Warren said...

Isn't it a shame. After your car is stolen, the local law enforcement then gets their piece of the action. I live in the Detroit area. I had the same experience, but my car was totalled. They still charged us the weeks stay and toeing fees.
They found the thief who did it, but he told them that he bought it from someone. I guess his word was good enough for them.

It took 2 1/2 years in court to get him to finally fess up.

Remember the Old West, when horse theft was punishable by death. There would definately be less car thieves. It wouldn't be worth getting your neck stretched over.

2:08 PM

Anonymous Warren said...

... if you didn't like the old "horse theif" punishment (which is the direction I lean), the theif should be the one who has to pay for all impound and repair costs. I don't know if its law, but it should be.

2:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


It is terrible story. The photos tell the story i.e "the victims of car theft are the ones who are punished." I am happy that your family is safe. It is the most important thing. If the perps sees the car in front of your house again, there may be temptation to steal or vandalize it. Everytime that you drive the car, there is a feeling of violation. In my case, they totalled my car after joy riding and stole my Christmas presents. Insurance took care of the rest including towing. I did not have to face the car "gulag". Anyway, I hope the best for you and family. Your neighborhood is a very nice one. Car thefts can happen anywhere including the best neighborhoods.


3:09 PM

Blogger amelia said...

Ohhh what a terrible experience. So sorry to hear the bad news but I'm glad you got your car back. Like the other commenters said, at least everyone's ok.


4:58 PM

Blogger Nick Sung said...

Ah! Sounds like a nightmare!
Stress city.

Anyway, I'm glad you got it back and everyone's alright. I say get a bike.

5:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You had to pay to get your stolen car back?! Sheesh!

Gary Chapple

7:45 PM

Anonymous wendy said...

I am glad you got your car back, but that experience is horrible.

Why did they call at 3am is really what I want to know. Just to screw with you?

3:36 AM

Anonymous button said...

Well it is great that you actually got the car back, but man ... it's terrible there were so many hoops to jump through just to pick it up!

5:39 PM

Anonymous Ted said...

Yeah, its terrible.. I agree with Warren that the punishment for such a crime should be terrible as well.

7:46 AM

Blogger Chad Kerychuk said...

Glad your car was found Ronnie. Absolutely sucks that you had to pay for it though. The justice system is the one letting these people off to commit the crimes again and allowing businesses to operate with shady practices.

Oh well, what goes around comes around I guess.

1:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, that's the place!

For us, the most excruciating part was waiting in line at the OPD for 2 hours to get the release. Most people in line were kids who's cars were impounded for participating in a sideshow.

Incidentally, when the cops called us to let us know that our car had been recovered, they said it had been joyrided was drivable. When we arrived at A&B Towing to get it, it was stripped and inoperable (eventually, our insurance company declared it totalled). Made us wonder whether A&B was on the up and up...

1:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

it seems like an awful lot of cars with the same coincidental types of injuries to the car. it's clearly a moneymaker for a&b or the police or someone. it'd be interesting if someone compared the rate of stolen cars that go through places like this (and the cost to owners?) compared to other cities to see if this is questionably higher than usual. i had a friend whose car was stolen in berkeley and "found" in the same condition so he also went through all of this.

10:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a terrible experience to go through. I am glad you got your car back. I just had my car stolen Monday (9-26-05). I live in Petersburg,Va and i was driving a 88 Chevy Monte Carlo SS. I had just put a thousand dollar paint job on her. The worst part was when I noticed it was gone I looked across the street and the police are parked directly in eye sight of where my car was parked. I told him what happend and he acted as if I stepped in dog sh!t.

It has been 5 days and no recovery. It makes me wonder are the police even looking for it. Probably not. My fear has turned from not getting my car back to getting it back and it being wrecked.

I know the charge, if the thief is caught, is Grand Larceny. I think it is a felony as well. I never like to see people go to jail but i hope they put this bum under the Jail.

8:56 AM

Blogger Michael said...

Man oh man...

I'm in the same boat. Car stolen 10/24/05, just got the call at 7AM that LAPD found it. PD said the car was "not stripped or burned out". I won't be able to look at it until Saturday, but I'm definitely expecting the worst. I just hope they left my belongings inside.

And of course, I have to pay for towing and storage fees.

1:43 PM

Anonymous John said...

My car was just stolen yesterday. Found out today that the theives joy-rode it and then wrecked it. Thanks a lot guys!
1990 Honda Civic. R.I.P.
I can relate to your story, because I'm living it right now; and it's true that the victim of the crime is the one who has to pay! I have to deal with a bunch of crap, and pay to get my totaled car out of the impound lot. I feel like the theives took a big dump on me, and all I can do is say thanks and give them some extra spending money!
I say car theives should be killed...that would put an end to it.

12:27 AM

Anonymous tom said...

Thank you, very interesting!

7:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too wish that there were tougher crime laws for these frickin idiots who steal:P i have just been victimized by my car being stolen ON MY B-DAY...THANKSGIVING!!
11-24-05...the police did find my car, they said it was drivable and the jerks probably took it for a joyride..WHATEVER! inside was trashed, they had ripped out my backseat to get whatever they needed from the trunk, they even took my baby's carseat:P i had just paid for a new starter 2 days ago, there was a screwdriver sticked into it...everything was shredded...and the worst part of all this...i had to pay the towing company almost 400.00 just to have them dispose of it...WHERE ARE MY RIGHTS AS THE VICTIM? our laws need to be re-check or better yet, have our city officials cars be a victim of theft, then maybe they'll get their asses moving and give out stricter punishments for these low- lives...

10:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

...joining the ranks of car-theft victims, my '95 Pontiac van was stolen sometime in the night from in front of my apartment. So far, no recovery of the vehicle -- but I seriously doubt anyone's actively doing anything. I have to hope that it gets abandoned or used in a crime before anything happens.

What needs to happen is two-fold. One, stiffer penalties for the theives. The second -- the police and policy-setters, for disinterest and not solving crimes, need to be negatively affected somehow. Until public services are performance-based, complacency and waste of tax dollars will continue.

John/St. Louis, MO

11:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 94 Honda Civic was stolen and gitted and I too paid 345 to have it towed and takin care of. Its ridiculous. We are the victims here why do we keep paying?? In Washington state a thief does jail time after 8 thefts!! What is going on with our legal system. Why do they make it so easy for them to steal?

12:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just paid $214 to pick up my stolen '91 Accord in San Francisco.

They didn't tear up my ignition, but they did leave a bunch of dirty clothes, ashes, pills, and a syringe in my car.

They stole all of my CDs and left me Britney and N'SYNC in return. That was almost the worst part of the whole thing.

11:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in St. Louis, and I had my rusty old 1989 Toyota Camry stolen two days before Christmas. Not a good place to hide presents from the kids I found out. I called the police as soon as I discovered it, and they said they would call me to take a report over the phone within a few hours. I started to jump into the shower and my door bell rang. It was the police. My car was used to pull up to a car someone left running. My car had 5 occupants. One would get out, break a window out of the running car and steal it. My car was involved in a police chase. I had comp. and got a good check from Allstate. I replaced the car 30 days later. Two weeks after that, I got a call from the police. They had found my car. It now belonged to the insurance company, but I went to it to retreive my personal belongings. They had stolen EVERYTHING including the air freshner and my sons car seat. The car had been parked where the police found it for 6 weeks and had tickets on it. I wonder why the cop who put the tickets on it didn't know it was stolen. Don't they run the plates. Anyways, when it was found, all of the windows were intact, as was the steering column. The police said whoever stole it had a master key. I'm glad I had comp., my insurance company took possession in the car and paid all of the towing fees. They really milk you for fees to get your car back. I work for an insurance company and see it all of the time. It should be illegal. I'm glad you got your car back.

11:03 AM

Blogger aimtcb said...

i just had my 96 honda civic took i hate this feeling i had money invested to get my money back an get outta debt i had 4sale signs in it ahh im pissed i cant think

5:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out http://www.StolenCarReports.com

6:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's too bad you have to pay to have a stolen car returned, but if the owner doesn't, who does? Most taxpayers are unlikely to be willing to shell out more tax dollars to pay for the tow trucks, drivers, attendents and storage facilities that are necessary. I woudl think your insurance would cover the tow and impound costs. And of course, you always have the opportunity to simply leave it there and not recover it.

If you want harsher penalties for car theives, talk to your state representatives - they're the ones that make the laws - but then you have to know that you need someplace to put these folks once they are sentenced. In my home town, a C felony or below will get you a citation and *maybe* a trip to jail to get fingerprinted and spend the night in the holding tank until you're let out the next morning. There just isn't any room to put people.

5:07 PM

Blogger Stephanie said...

I can definitely imagine how you feel when the car was stolen. Our car was stolen two days ago and still hasn't been found. I'm sure they took our babies car seat because the officer said that would be one of the first things to go. I feel so helpless right now and there is nothing we can do.

OH and for those thinking the cops ACTUALLY search for your car...that is NOT the case. They put your license plate or VIN into a database and if someone HAPPENS to run the plates or run across the car that gets dumped, only then would you get your car back.

4:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes that is A&B tow for you. jail for your car. you have to do what they say and just try to bail your car out without causing too much damage. my friend had his 4 12 inch subwoofers, amp, cd player and speakers stolen out of his car after it was "stolen and wrecked". we know who took the car and they didnt take the stereo out... when we went to get it from a&b it was gone... my other friends dad was murdered a few years ago and they took his truck in for evidence... they made my friend pay 100 to get it out and when he got it the stereo face plate was gone. it was there when they took the car...

5:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, if they find your car, would it be reasonable to have the officer wait till you wake up, shower and get some type of transportation to where ever they are waiting at? Tow trucks are 30 minutes or less away. Also, an underlying link I see is older Japanese cars. Use a club, if the kids really want your car, it will get stolen, they see a club, they might walk to the next car.

8:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it makes you feel better, although it probably won't
My husbands maverick was stolen while he was restoring it, the hood was locked down with hood locks, We had jimmy rigged it by taking out the battery and the special electric fuel pump and line, I tried getting him to take the tires off but he said it wasn't needed. Looks like some one just drove up with a tow truck at our own home and took off with it.

{Waving the bumper at the crooks that was in out back yard)
Thieves stink....

11:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if you carry theft insurance then your insurance company will pick up the tow and storage costs incurred with a vehicle theft. This stolen Honda appears to need a new ignition. Many of the cars are completely stripped- no engines, no trans, interior, air bags, etc. and worse than that is in Oakland you could get carjacked and shot. Cars are replaceable your bodies and family are not.

1:02 AM

Anonymous Nodcaf4u said...

I have found my car today, after an unreachable city lot on Pulaski Highway, MD ( try calling them, they never answer the phone, yet when you arrive to the location there are alot of people just sitting around) ... I rented a car, just to double check that my car was not stolen. Baltimore Police had no record of my car being taken , so it is currently reported as stolen , at this point. When I arrived to the Pulaski Impound lot, it was empty, noone was answering the phone and I walked right up to the desk and found my car has been there for three days.. with assesed fees.

This is not right, that a resident cannot find out where there car is located, only to pay the city more money to store a car that the police believe to be stolen.

I will be getting my car tomorrow, paying rediculus fees to get it back, then have to wait for Baltimore PD to arrive to deem my car, not stolen, and able for me to drive.

I am a single woman, and this experience has been traumatic. I hope the city realizes that the Transportation Department needs to speak with the police, or at least contact them via web, when they take cars. If I had not done what I did today, my car may have sat in the city pound for weeks before I found it.

After all the city taxes I pay..I am a resident... this is the security I get?

I'm looking to move at this point.

Baltimore sucks eggs...

9:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a police officer in southern CA and I have the dishonor of having to deal with these scumbag car thieves. A lot of them will dump the cars in parks, in alleys and in residential neighborhoods (not the nice ones either). I also had the misfortune of having my secondary car stolen from my apartment complex while I was ironically involved in a pursuit of a stolen vehicle. The car itself isn't worth more than $500 but what kills me is I had just bought a new bike and had it in the trunk with my mp3 player.

The reality is that the justice system is by no means a system and hardly just. As far as I'm concerned, the penalties are far too light. The legislators don't care and will cry foul only when it happens to them or they're up for reelection.

Yes, and the victims are usually the ones that end up having the pay for everyone once their vehicle is recovered. Good luck trying to get any money out of the car thief whose only job is to steal other people's things.

2:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got my 86,Olds,Delta 88 stolen today in brade day light. If they find my car ever again, it better be in one piece,some one is as good as dead.What was so great about a 21 year old car , that it was not theres to begin with. god better help them caz it I catch them, they are as good as dead in my book.
KW, Ok city

1:14 AM

Anonymous Michael said...

My van can not be driven the van is running the door is open. Sound like no more joy rides . com no brake no gas bad kids use a combination lock and put your keys down on the table. If you can not speed or stop would you drive a car.

3:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We just had our early 90's Saturn stolen and we have to deal with the "people" at A&B auto. We got the run around from the police depts. too. Our car was stolen from San Leandro, found in Oakland. We were first informed by O.P.D that they had to hold the car for 48 hours to make sure that it was not involved in a crime. Then later that day we get a phone call from O.P.D that we can go pick our car up and that it was still in good shape??!!!! So when we contact A&B Auto, we come to find out that our car has 360 degree worth of damage and the front windshield is smashed, so pretty much we have no choice but to sign the car over to them as a loss to us! Now we have to pay the towing fee's and the daily storage fee's just to be rid of the car that was stolen from us! So now we are out $331.00 and no car!!!! And when you are dealing with the people at A&B Auto, they make you feel like you are the criminal when you had your car stolen!!!!! Why is it so hard when you are there with documentation that you are the owner of the car and all you want is to retrieve what is left of your belongings from the car - we couldnt even do that yesterday for "some" reason!!!! F**K the SYSTEM!!!!!!!!!

1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a nearly identical situation. What was really weird is that it was stolen near public transportation in Berkeley, and then had been crashed just a few blocks from A&B Towing.
Then when I took the bus to A&B Towing, I happened to walk by another older japanese model car which had been abandoned on the sidewalk four blocks from A&B towing, and an officer was filling out a report. I had to pay $650 plus the title to my car. They said it was 'totaled', but from 20 feet away, I couldn't see obvious damage to it. They wouldn't let me inspect it, and I wouldn't be able to afford repairs if there was transmission trouble.

9:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i know this is not a place for this but i beg you to let me say this.there are two cars at my neighborhood seized from two thieves who stoled it and want to ship it but were caught . anyone who has lost his or her car to email me at tracybaby10@yahoo.com for confirmation and collection.please reply asap

10:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well i can relate to this story...My mom and I walked out of the house today july 23rd and to our surprise our navy blue 1991 honda accord was not parked in front of the our house anymore. Right then we knew that it had been stolen and so here I am...still the 23rd, filed a report and the police just dont seem to care ...well now that i have read this story its likely that my car is probably on fire or smoldering like a pile of trash by the side of the road or in some alley way. Damn...sigh.

4:11 PM

Anonymous Kent said...

Hi all, I would like to approach the Oakland City Council to ask that they create a rule that the police cannot have your car towed unless they try to notify you first. This is what the CA state legislature has already said. This rule obviously isn't being followed by the police. If you are an Oakland resident, please let me know if you are interested to participate in this council request by emailing kentlewan@yahoo.com.

2:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My car was stolen yesterday at 3:00 in the morning. I did a police report and it really hasnt done much good. Stolen cars are not a main objective of the police department. My car actually had a navigation system and a GPS locator in it and I have gotten no response as to where my car is. I am so upset and completely pissed off. Those bastards stole my car with my kids car seats in the back. Heartless worthless a-holes. I hope to God the police finds them before they do this to anyone else. This could cost them there life one day.

12:07 PM

Blogger Robert said...

be careful what you wish for these are stupid thiefs. the smart one steal you identity, report the car stolen any you end up in jail.

10:12 AM

Blogger DJBlax said...

I just had my 96 Dodge Ram Van stolen two nights ago in Chicago. They stole it right in front of my apartment. I was watching TV inside and didn't hear a thing. (stupid Chicago winters, my windows were sealed tight) My brother in law saw the van leaving it's parking space and gave a honk thinking it was me. I got it back the next night. The police pulled it over citing "multiple traffic violations" and the thieves got out and ran. From the empty package of blunts left in the car and that fact that all the shades were down I'd guess it was a joyride situation. The good news is that the police just left it running an drove it to the station. I didn't have to pay a thing. I just signed some papers and drove it strait to my mechanic to fix the punched ignition. Chicago has lots of problems with corruption but it looks like they aren't in the business of ripping off victims. Or maybe I just got lucky.

7:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm fifty years old. When I was in my late teens, I stole a number of cars and didn't really think about the consequences. When you are young and dumb, you don't think about the impact of what you are doing on others. I have also been the victim of car theft (and burglary) and understand how it feels “when the shoe is on the other foot.”
I don’t think get tough laws didn't work because I didn't think I was going to get caught and I wasn't spending my time reading the penal code. Besides, get tough laws only work if you don't make absolutely everything "zero tolerance."
Because of my past, I have been asked on various occasions to talk to kids who are arrested. It rarely makes an impact. They are all “smarter” than me and won’t get caught (gain).
Get tough on everything policies don’t work. A few years ago, my city put up special enforcement zone signs for traffic offenses, and people behaved better in those zones. After a while, every corner was a "special enforcement zone" and the implied threat lost its impact. My state (Michigan) used to have a law which gave you life without the possibility of parole for dealing 650 or more grams of cocaine. The same offense in Indiana carried 15 years. A rocket scientist of a drug dealer from Chicago decided to meet the undercover cop at the rest stop going into Michigan rather than the last rest stop in Indiana. I the drug dealer paid attention to penal laws, he would certainly have done the deal half a mile up the road where he faced a significantly lower penalty.
If you say committing a crime carries a mandatory sentence, some people won't carry a gun. If you expand the law to include non-firearm conduct, you erode the deterrence about packing a firearm. It makes a nice political sound bite, but it makes laws ineffectual.
Car theft is a real problem and it creates high speed chases which kill people. Stolen cars are often used in other crimes as well. It should be punished, but a car theft involving hotwiring and driving a car away is less life threatening than an armed robbery or armed carjacking.
When you create a penal code, you necessarily rank and classify antisocial conduct. That is why murder is penalized more severely than car theft. Car theft is often a beginner crime and people are turned around. For example, I later went on to complete grad school, have been occupationally licensed, and have a twenty-five year marriage with no further contacts with the police.
Many states have filled their prisons beyond capacity with get tough laws and have had to create early release programs because they can no longer afford to house them. Despite the visceral appeal to these laws, they don’t work. Study after study confirm this, but they are great vote getters from politicians looking to build a name for themselves.
I'm not sure what the magic answer, but what I can tell you is target hardening mostly works. If you want a car enough, you'll go through the changes, but mostly you'll move on. Some states have adopted laws where you can put a sticker in your back window, which consents to the car being pulled over on less than probable cause during certain hours. I think that might help.
I also think the new technology helps. Chrysler was the last of the big three to adopt transponders and they have a huge auto theft rate. Immobilizers have been mandated in Europe and Oz for many year and they work.
Incidentally, car theft rates are down significantly from the past. I know that doesn’t help you if you are looking at an empty parking space.

1:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If your car is stolen and you want to get it back, you might want to look at www.StolenCarReports.com

4:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a tale of injustice! You pay to get your own car back. In this day the non-criminal always pays for the crime...yet, we have all of these "patriots" out here. If you're a real patriot, you want justice and to be ABLE to do the right thing...not to get screwed each day by a system that is designed to tire you out and empty your pockets.

12:36 AM

Anonymous Eric said...

My Ford Fiesta (2011) was stolen yesterday. I'm praying for it's recovery and even if it costs me a fwe thousand to fix whatever is done to it it's a price I'd gladly pay to get it back. As far as the perp... Let's hope the police are the one's who find him before I do or I'll be the one needing legal representation.

10:25 AM

Anonymous Bell Car Insurance said...

The Moral of the story in my opinion is that better to get a car insurance first so as to be sure of theft because some times we cannot find the car

10:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My car too was stolen, in my quest of getting it back I came across http://www.stolenlostfound.net/ a website that you can report a stolen car online and the stolen car report appears on the search engines within a day

6:20 PM

Anonymous Ervin Capvitz said...

That's too bad. I can't imagine the anguish of losing a valued property. But like they say, it's just a car. Good thing no one was hurt. And good thing you got it back. Be more careful next time.

10:50 AM

Anonymous Rochelle said...

I too had to pay an impound lot fee this morning in Minneapolis,Minnesota when my truck was stolen from my driveway yesterday,in addition to that I also had to pay a flat bed truck to tow it out because they popped the lock and ignition.$138 for impound and $100 for tow and now I am sure $500 to repair my vehicle because they drove over my garbage can pulling out and tore my muffler off! Shame on these states for charging us to get back our property while they do nothing to find out who even did it in the first place! The police officer told me that it was "Life in the big city" UGH!

9:53 PM

Blogger Gerry T said...

I had a Honda Civic stolen in Emeryville a couple of years ago. When they found it, I had to go through the same B.S. you did, getting releases from the EPD and RPD, and then had to go to some impound yard way out in the middle of nowhere, and pay $300 to get my damaged car back.

Well...I learned my lesson. On my newer car, I have an alarm/anti-theft system, AND a club device. Two layers of security. Because if I can help it, I will NOT go through that hell again.

10:34 AM

Blogger import said...

Its truly bad for the nation and car owners to survive this kind of steal activities. Cars are the richest asset for its owner.

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9:40 AM

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1:19 AM

Blogger Jenna said...

Single mom who works her ass off to purchase a car for cash....5 days ago my honda accord was stolen!! I got my call today. I'm picking it up from the tow yard tomorrow....260.00!!!! Plus they told me the rear window is shattered and of course the ignition !!! Who knows what else!!! So upset !!! Criminals SUCK!!!!!

12:00 AM

Blogger Anil Sinha said...

By following vehicle recovery techniques make journey wonderful, when drive own vehicle. In any case stole and want to get back not easy. Nice post thanks for sharing.

12:17 AM

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10:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just paid $771.00 to get my stolen car back. $215 for towing and the rest for storage. The Sheriff's deputy that found it an d called the towing company never called us AND never updated the system it is 10 days later and when I called the Sheriff's department today to inquire about my car and they said that it has not been found yet!

12:27 PM

Anonymous Dave said...

My friend runs a towing service in Orlando and he unfortunately comes across a few stolen cars a month. It seems that even towing companies get affected, since a majority of the time the law enforcement agents don't pursue the criminals.

8:00 PM

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11:29 PM

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3:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The OPD and partnered towing company have quite a racket. I imagine they love it when cars get stolen. You have to pay for the towing and even more if it has to stay in police impound more than one day. They give you a courtesy call and give you ONLY 20 minutes to get there before they tow it. My car was stolen and it took them 3 months to recover it. The person who stole it was pulled over driving it. It was a miracle that it hadnt been scrapped. My elation completely dissipated when they told me I had to get the release form at the OPD station before I could pick it up and pay for impound and towing. I took the day off work (losing money) and waited there for an hour to get a release form. Then I went to the impound in a very sketchy and hard to get to area and they charged me around $400 to get it back. They drove it out and it was full of liquer bottles and all sorts of crime related evidence. I was shocked they didnt confiscate the several pulled ignitions, multiple sets of keys, phones, knives, rubber gloves ect. My car was in rough shape and I got completely screwed. Not having transportation, taking a day off work, paying for the towing (doesnt the city make enough money to at least offer its citizens a waiver for stolen cars, I am the victem right?). I felt completely betrayed by our local government and OPD. They made alot of money off of my bad luck. Lesson learned.

3:17 PM

Blogger Tim O'Shea said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:27 AM

Blogger Tim O'Shea said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:30 AM

Blogger Tim O'Shea said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:30 AM

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11:29 PM

Blogger Christine S. said...

I have a question and was hoping someone could help me out. My car was stolen by family member and I made police report and gave them there name and was able to retrieve the car about a month later I got a ticket in the mail with the date when the car was ta taken how can I take care of this.

1:49 PM

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5:54 AM

Blogger David Ashburn said...

The Oakland Police Department has a contract with Auto Plus Towing in which they are paid by Auto Plus Towing $172,000 per year plus $54 per towed vehicle, plus a percentage of the gross profits from vehicles towed and impounded. This was a city resolution approved by the Oakland city council on January 13 2016. Auto Plus can charge whatever they want (currently $390 for towing and $80.00 per day plus a lien release of $70, plus $50.00 "special fees" for each car they tow and impound. Hopefully the victim of auto theft gets a call that their car is found but the Towing company always gets a call. This is a revenue source for the city.

11:04 AM

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11:10 PM


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