Ever Had 3 Cars Stolen on One Day?

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I have. Now. Yesterday was a Comedy of Errors. Yesterday made the day before look like a vacation. Yesterday pretty much sucked. I’m pretty sure that yesterday has to be in the top 5 of all weird days of my life.

Yesterday started at my now normal 5 am, with a little dog surgery. Then the engine of my van caught on fire while trying to get it into the garage. But the highlight of the day was discovering that I am missing 3 automobiles that I previously had.

I have been meaning to write about Jeff. Jeff is a desert storm vet. He has lived in a house I own here in Topeka for 2 1/2 years. He is/was my “renter”. But, he never paid rent. Not one month. He got behind the first month and, I guess, could never catch up.

I liked Jeff. He is raising 4 step kids. He seemed pretty honest. Other that nothing he ever said about money ever occurred, he seemed pretty nice. I didn’t really care that much about the money. I cared some, but not enough to confront him.

I think I justified Jeff by thinking it was a charitable thing. A poor black man, who was disabled through the Iraqi war, raising kids that aren’t his. And his kids are great. But, things went downhill fast today.

I got a call in the morning by the Gas Service Co. that they had a disconnect order for my house. I asked if it was because of lack of payment, but it was because a service disconnect had been ordered. Jeff was moving. I told him to leave the gas on.

I drove over to Jeff’s only to find no one there. There were no footprints in the 8 inches of fresh snow. There was a lot of furniture on the porch, so I figured they weren’t gone yet, but weren’t living there.

Behind this house is a detached 2 car garage. With 3 of my cars in it. A 1970 Saab Sonett, a 1983 Honda Civic S, and a 1986 Dodge Caravan (manual transmission, 4 speed). I noticed that the door to the garage was open. I had a padlock on it last time I saw it, which hadn’t been for awhile. Anyway, I go look in the garage and all three cars are gone. And there is a bunch of other stuff being stored there. Crazy.

There has been a ton of stuff in the paper about people ripping off metal to sell for scape. There is a crime spree by some guy that is going on top of commercial buildings mainly, and stealing the copper out of the rooftop air conditioners. And three city employees just got caught stealing metal from the city and recycling it. I thought you were supposed to have the title to scrape a car, but this is Kansas.

So, I’m pondering what to do here. Report it to the police? Forget about it? Civil court? Maybe just rack it up as a life experience? Pretty strange day.


A highlight of yesterday was riding indoors. I know, I usually hate that with a passion. But, yesterday wasn’t so bad. I rode for and hour 15 and had pretty unbelievable power. For me at least. I’ve had this Tunturi ergometer for nearly 30 years. It just uses spring tension for wattage, but that is accurate enough for me. As long as it is consistent, it doesn’t really matter what the numbers are.

15 thoughts on “Ever Had 3 Cars Stolen on One Day?

  1. Rod

    Absolutely file a police report….immediately. If anything that was stolen is involved in an accident or another crime, the police can come back to you as the owner. You need to document that the cars have been taken from your possession and establish a date that will stop any future claims or liabilites against you.

     
  2. Ted Lewandowski

    This is what happens when you give someone an inch – as the saying goes – they take a yard and three cars while they’re at it.

    Cars are probably scrapped as the going rate is about $300-$350 per car but all you can do is report it as you cannot ‘prove’ your tenant actually took them.

    I myself would file a lawsuit against him for all the back rent just to drag his a** into court. If he failed to show up then he would lose by default and now you collect the money owed to you.

    Costs about $50 to file but you would have to get his current address to serve him – not too hard with cell phone records and/or utilities.

     
  3. Jeff

    That all sucks Steve. You’ve got to report the guy for the reasons already mentioned, AND to help protect the next guy like yourself who tries to help this guy, because you can bet there will be others if he’s never reported. You’ll probably be doing Desert Storm Jeff a favor as well, since he’ll probably descend into more serious stuff until he’s caught.
    Hope things look up for you soon dude.

     
  4. Jim

    I really understand what you are going through. I just had some “renters” that got behind and just never caught up. They went through some tough times and I tried to help out. When the amount owed hit about $4K I decided something had to be done. They understood and moved but still I was out a lot of money. I was upset for being such a fool and didn’t go into the place for about a month. BIG mistake. They left tons of junk including a refrigerator full of stuff that had rotted. The smell was unbearable. Took me three days to clean it out.
    Not sure that I ever want to rent it out again. I would rather just offer it free to bike racers and have training partners.
    I wish you the best in getting this figured out.

     
  5. other john

    Consevative: def. “a liberal mugged by reality”

    there’s alot of that going around these days.

     
  6. Ted

    Steve

    I wonder how they could scrap or sell those cars without some form of a vehicle title. I wouldn’t give up on it yet, and with distinctive cars, a call to local scrap yards may reveal some clues as to who has the cars. Keep an eye on craigslist for listings of parts, particularly for an unusual car like the Sonnet. I hope the police your way might make some effort. It’s not that easy to sell/scrap a car without some record turning up…

     
  7. Don

    Ouch!!! Steve I hate to say it but I told you so…You have to keep emotion out of it. When your renters fall more then a month behind its time to do something. I have learned the hard way several times. Your not doing anyone any favors. You loose three cars and two and a half years worth of rent and your renter learns how to sucker the next guy. Give him a fish and he eats for a day or teach him to fish and he will eat forever.

     
  8. h luce

    I’m with Ted Lewandowski on this, you should file a police report immediately, especially if this guy had a key to the padlock on the garage and no one else had a key to the place. That helps to show that he had a role to play in this.

    Sonnets are really rare, this might have been a steal-to-order thing in which your renter got a cut. Hopefully you have the VIN numbers so the vehicles can be traced. Also you should have your renter’s Social Security Number so he can be traced, too, should you ever need to get him served.

    Charity is a risky thing, too often the recipients take you for a sucker and try to pump you for everything they can get, while resenting everything you do. If they get behind in rent (don’t pay) for more than two months, boot them, but first go through the place and document the damage(s), with luck you got a security deposit. When I was living in Over The Rhine, a 90% poor black area of Cincinnati, I didn’t give money to beggars or children asking for money – because in some sort of twisted sense, if you gave them money, it was a show of disrespect. Gifts would be responded to with hatred, I saw this too many times.

    So I’d report him to the cops, see if they’ll go after him for grand theft auto (or aiding/abetting, or conspiracy to commit a felony). His story, as Kris told it to me, won’t convince a jury… I’d also sue in civil court.

    If nothing else, it’s showing the ‘hood that you won’t put up being messed with. If you just let the guy go, you’ll get messed with even worse.

     

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