Nancy Drew's Maiden Aunt
My car theft has turned into quite an adventure in futility.
I find that I've had to become way more involved in investigating the crime than I ever though possible.
Last night, a stranger called me, asking if my car had recently been stolen.
Leery, I said yes, then asked why he was asking.
It seems the old guy had found a black plastic trashbag on his curb yesterday morning around 6.
In it were papers and other items from my car, including the pried-off, leather lid to my console between the seats. My name and address were all over the papers.
So I got his address and number and called the car theft number for the police. No answer.
I called the SAPD's main switchboard and the dimwit operator couldn't tell me if or when the car theft detectives were on duty. Turns out the car theft cops are a 9 to 5 outfit. Swell.
I called again and got a new operator, who managed to locate a patrol officer to come by my house.
The cop arrived about 15 minutes later, not knowing why he was there.
As I tried to explain, he kept asking questions before he let me explain, and we both started getting a little defensive.
Finally, I gave him my detailed notes and let him read what I was trying to tell him.
He said he liked my handwriting, and the ice was suddenly broken.
He invited me to accompany him to the old man's address- then explained that all civilian riders must ride in the back-seat of the squad car.
"Oh no, is the back-seat filled with blood and snot and puke?" I asked.
"No," he laughed, "This is a fairly new car. You must watch COPS a lot."
I laughed and squeezed into the back seat, which was amazingly tidy. By then, my neighbors were on their porches, no doubt wondering why I was being hauled away by the cops.
We reached the old man's house less than a mile away and retrieved the bag. In it was nothing significant, except for some registration papers and the Annie Lennox CD I had lamented about losing.
When the cop drove me back to my house, my across the street neighbors came up to the cop with a video tape.
Seems they have three time-elapsed video cameras mounted on their property with one lens trained on their front yard, with my house in the background.
We quickly went to their video command post (in their bedroom closet) to view the tape.
Alas, the time stamp was screwy, so I was tasked with reviewing the tape frame by frame to see if I can pinpoint the moment my car was stolen, and by whom.
That'll be tricky because my porch light was off the night of the theft.
When I asked, the cop said the car theft detectives weren't about to review the tape themselves--I had to do it.
"Aren't they supposed to be the investigators?" I asked.
"Yeah, but they won't sit there and review the tape frame by frame," he said.
"Wouldn't that be considered an essential part of their investigation?" I asked.
Then the cop, my neighbors and I all broke out laughing. As if!
As we left the neighbor's house, about six of my other neighbors had gathered in the street, flocked around the cop, each sharing their theories of the crime.
Most seemed to think the ballsy crooks loaded my car onto a flatbed truck and hauled it away. What nerve!
Turns out the entire block is filled with Court TV watching comedians who love throwing around words like crackheads, assholes and scumbags when referring to the suspects.
The cop loved it. So did I.
By the end of our encounter, the cop confided in me that he was burnt out and jaded by 10 years of pounding the beat. He apologized for showing up cranky.
I told him to drop by anytime he needed another bottle of cold water or a pep talk.
He smiled and said, "You just want me to up my patrols in the area, right?"
"Fuck yeah," I replied.
It always pays to suck up to cops.