Being from the “big city”, there are things that are just not in my mindset. Living in a more rural state has shown me there’s much trust out there. Trust that I was raised to reject. One is the naive lack of awareness of one’s surroundings. Case in point: In the winter people will leave their cars running and unattended while they go in the store. It’s only a few minutes, right? (They also openly count their money while still standing at the ATM, which drives my sister crazy.)
Where I come from your car would be gone in a heartbeat. And guess what… it happens here, too, albeit not as often. In fact, it happened here just last week. This guy that I do not know personally, but am loosely acquainted with through a Facebook group, had his car stolen in this manner. I’m copying portions of the story here…
MARION, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) — A Marion man says he was just trying to keep his vehicle warm in sub zero weather when someone stole his SUV.
It happened on December 30th at Casey’s General Store at 680 Lindale Drive in Marion. <deleted> says he was running inside to get a cup of hot chocolate before work.
He had his spare key on him, and thought he locked up before going inside. A person at the nearby laundromat spotted the SUV and drove off with it. Police are still searching for the person who did it. <deleted> thinks the person is homeless, and stole his car to stay warm.
He adds, “Well I feel violated. And like I told the officer, the Marion Police officer. I told them, I said I would’ve given him a ride. You know, some place or a shelter, or wherever he wanted to go.”
The vehicle was found Monday in Cedar Rapids. Police will check it for evidence, then give it back to <deleted>. He says he will keep his doors locked from now on.
He adds, “I screwed up, you know. I don’t know how else to put it.”
(He wasn’t this contrite in the Facebook group.) And he’s surprised it was stolen. 😐
Ok, now this news story does not include all the annoying details. It also happens that this guy posted his plight on the previously mentioned Facebook page, expressing sadness and shock at being victimized. And… this is what gets my goat more than the car theft itself… people lined up to defend him and his choices. People slammed the thief, which was appropriate, but not a single person dared criticize him for the obvious. They actually defended him and told him he bore no fault whatsoever. It was all on the thief. It was as if they were all enabling dumb decisions. No one was willing to say what needed to be said… “But you left your car running, you idiot! That was stupid!”
Now, don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t matter how ‘available’ something is, and no theft victim ever “deserves” it, there is never an excuse to steal. But let’s get back to the real world, shall we? In the real world there are dishonest people. People who will steal, and it is incumbent on you to reasonably protect your stuff. Locks were invented for a reason. Leaving your vehicle available is not responsible. Leaving your vehicle available is dumb, especially without remote start. Even if the door is locked, if the key is in the ignition you’re asking for trouble.
Oh, and the best part: In the Facebook group he said he will continue to do the same thing.