Most people probably don’t want to be crime victims, but in case you do, the police department’s offense reports contain some wonderful examples to follow.
Getting your vehicle burglarized or stolen is probably one of the easiest stunts to pull off.
Just leave something valuable or quasi-valuable — wallet, purse, briefcase, camera, cell phone, $2 glove — on the seat or console, and some entrepreneurial thief will probably help himself.
If you want to save him the trouble of having to smash a window or outsmart the lock, just leave all the doors unlocked.
And for an added bonus, leave your keys in the ignition because that’s sure to result in the outright theft of your vehicle.
“Make it easy for them… Help-a-criminal week,” one law enforcement official said.
Police reports contain dozens of offenses each week that depict such scenarios.
“I just want to say, ‘Why did you do that?’” police department records clerk Ima Martin, who sees those reports daily, said.
I told Ima I’m not trying to make light of being a crime victim. I’ve been one, and it’s not fun. Moi? Oh, mais oui. Some lousy skunk of a thief helped himself to my beautiful Kawasaki 750 motorcycle, which I called my “jet fighter.” Took it right off Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona when I wasn’t looking, and I never saw it again. My biker days are over, but gosh, I still miss that bike.
“Maybe they’ll see themselves and say ‘Hey, I need to quit doing that. It’s going to happen to me,’” Ima said.
It’s getting frighteningly easy to become a victim of identity theft or some other fraud whether you intend to or not. People who apparently do all the right things still end up getting demands from collection agencies for thousands of dollars — on charges or bills they’ve no more incurred than the cat juggler in the moon.
Some people make it even easier for such thieves. How many times do you have to tell people not to give out personal information to someone who claims you’ve just won the Eiffel Tower? Or not to pull thousands of dollars out of the bank for someone who wants you to show “good faith” in some scheme?
Now, it’s possible to accidentally leave your vehicle unlocked overnight or while it’s parked at the mall. If you do it by accident once in a great while, here’s hoping your momentarily carelessness doesn’t result in a big loss. I’m sure we’ve all had some close calls.
Take this fellow I’ll call Jay Walker. Jay told me he went to a local business one day and rented a carpet roller. If you’ve never seen or used one, it’s about the size of an upright vacuum cleaner, maybe a little bigger, and weighs about 9,000 pounds.
Jay finished using the carpet roller and hoisted it into the back of his van, planning to return it from whence it came the next morning. When Jay went outside to meet the new day, he was startled to see that he had left the van’s tailgate up all night, with the carpet roller sitting right there, easy pickings for a thief who didn’t mind lifting something heavy.
Nobody messed with it, though. “Whew,” Jay said, not sure how much the thing was worth, but figuring it wasn’t cheap.
Jay quickly closed the van’s tailgate before Mrs. Walker, who is a stickler on security issues and insists on “safety checks” before leaving the house, saw what he’d done.
“Did you ever tell Wife about this incident?” I asked.
“No-o-o,” Jay replied. “And I never will.”
Now hopefully, Wife isn’t going to figure out my — I mean, Jay Walker’s — real identity.
Steve Nash writes his column for the Brownwood Bulletin on Thursdays. This column was originallly published in 2005. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.