worst. car. thief. ever.

Two days ago, Paul’s car was broken into. Of course, Paul didn’t notice, because his car is already full of books and clothes and trash from Ben. But then, he got a phone call from a neighbor in the next complex over. Paul’s documents – his will, his living will, and a claim of missing money from Pennsylvania – were in this strangers car. That’s when Paul realized that something was amiss, and that his car had been broken into.

I can’t figure out if these were the worst thieves ever…or just bad thieves. They took Paul’s personal documents, but dropped them in the next car they raided (Paul had had them in his car so he could get the documents notarized during the week). They tried to take a neighbor’s car stereo, but couldn’t get it out of the dashboard. And they took our diaper bag, which we have had for three years, and were quite fond of. Worse, said bag had Ben’s metal SIGG kids’ canteen in it. His Aunt Moni and Uncle Jon got him that canteen for Christmas, because it had cute animals printed on it, and he loved it. What kind of asshat steals a diaper bag?

We haven’t filed a police report because (a) no damage was done (they must have used a Honda master key) and (b) they took nothing of serious value. But it’s the first car break in we’ve ever had here. Our cars are mostly invisible, too, because they’re now both over three years old…and are mid-range family sedans. We don’t drive expensive cars, so I don’t expect them to be a target for thieves…especially not in L.A., where there are Range Rovers and BMWs all over the place. I suppose, if you’re trying to quietly break into a car, our middle-class family cars are less likely to have alarms. But we’re also less likely to have anything worth stealing. I don’t leave anything valuable in my car, ever – a habit from Vancouver, not even from L.A. And I figure if someone breaks in and steals my car seat, they may need it more than I do.

I suppose I really can’t be THAT mad at Mr. Car Thief. He did take our beloved diaper bag, and Ben’s water bottle, but he left Paul’s documents in the next car over. Those were important documents, and he sort of gave them back, instead of selling them to shady Russians. Still, I’m putting a fraud watch on my husband’s SSN for a little while. It was awfully thoughtful – or lazy – of the car thief to give back Paul’s will and living will. But he may well have made a note of the SSN on those money claim docs from Pennsylvania.

And no, this doesn’t make me feel like I live in an unsafe neighborhood. The thieves didn’t smash windows, or even take very much. When I lived in downtown Dallas, in a high-end, high security apartment complex, thieves smashed the windows of fourteen cars in a row, and cleaned every one out, before they were caught. Living somewhere “secure” just lulls you into a false sense of security. Times are hard out there, and petty crime happens no matter where you live in the city. With the possible exception of the neighborhoods with rent-a-cop type private security, there is no guarantee against car break ins in Los Angeles. And the thought of living in a neighborhood protected by private security, in L.A., is so Snow Crash that it makes me shudder. I will just stay here, in our charming, 1920s apartment, and take my chances.

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