So Bub and I went to Niagara Fall on Saturday for the night. We met FIL (R) and his fiancé (C) at their hotel room, went to the Casino (I lost $10 and DH lost $20- we’re not big gamblers) and then we headed out for dinner.
We left our car at the hotel and took C’s car. When we arrived at the restaurant after making a quick stop at the liquor store for a bottle of wine, and it was packed. But it’s DH and FIL’s fav restaurant so we parked at the back of the dirt lot (there goes my super cute black ballet flats in the muck) and hiked in. Surprisingly we didn’t have to wait more than 5 minutes for a table and the food came really quickly. Within an hour to an hour and a half tops we were finished our excellent dinner and were walking out the door.
C had been chatting with us all day about buying a new car in the next 6 months and as we were walking back through the muck to her current vehicle we see this old (early 90’s) white van with a black door parked beside her car. She jokingly says to me “hey Ash… I want THAT van”. I laughed and then said “look... the lights are on… oh and it’s running, but there’s no one in it”. Now you have to know that this van was NOT the type to have an auto starter. It was a total piece of crap and definitely on its last legs. It was strange that it was WAY out in the parking lot running. It’s not like someone would have popped outside to start it- and there really wasn’t any need for that because it was ridiculously mild on Saturday (+8 C when it was -13 the day before…it felt like summer!). So, thinking it was nothing more than a little strange, we continue to walk past the van. Almost simultaneously, all 4 of us stop dead and look backwards up the line of vehicles and then back to the empty spot where C’s car had been parked. All I could say was “um….”. We all turned, without saying anything and walked back up the line of cars just in case we had passed it. No such luck, it was gone. Finally C says “uh… where’s my car?” . We all stood flabbergasted and silent for several seconds and then finally C decided to walk back up to the restaurant and call the police (she didn’t want to call 911 from one of our cells because it wasn’t really an emergency). She informed them about the van left running and unattended beside where her car had been parked.
3 cruisers (yep THREE … for a stolen car) arrived at the restaurant. The first girl took out her kit, asked us if we had touched the van at all and then went to work. Sure enough, the van had been hot wired so we figure whoever stole it, dumped it in the parking lot and then stole C’s car. It was probably as random as there was an empty spot beside her car where they could park/dump the van and block the view to the restaurant while they stole hers. It was total CSI. The cop was taking pictures and finger prints and everything. I couldn’t believe it because when they found my Mom’s car abandoned in a parking lot after it had been stolen out of her driveway, they didn’t do anything except tow it to the garage of her choice stating that “cars get stolen all the time… it’s not even really worth investigating because they never get caught”. I was fascinated because I went to school for policing (obviously decided to go another route) and it made me remember how much I LOVE all that stuff. I kept saying (quietly ) to Bub “I wanna play!”. The second cop just pulled in, asked us how long it had been gone and then took off again with his lights on. I think he may have been going to look for it. The third officer was the one in charge of taking our statements. When it was all said and done, the owner of the restaurant called and paid for a cab to take us to the liquor store (to replace the wine that had been in the car) and then back to the hotel. He also gave R and C a free drink (DH and I were outside).
It was so funny to see the things that C was worried about. She would burst out with the most random stuff.
1. “OH MY GOD.. my licenses plates, they’re linked to my name, what if they do something bad in my car?” I had to reassure her that now that she had reported it stolen, she wouldn’t be linked to any criminal activity the car was involved in.
2. “CRAP… R, that was an unopened bottle of wine in the backseat!” Again, I assured her that we could go buy another… it was only a $12 bottle.
3. When we got back to the hotel she slams her hand down on the dresser and says “S**T.. I had a full pack of cigarettes in the glove compartment”. She was really upset about it.
DH told me privately later that it was really hard to keep from laughing when she was more worried about the bottle of wine and cigarettes, rather than the car. I just told her that whoever stole her car was having the time of their lives with her camera, a bottle of wine and a pack of cigarettes! She probably made some kids night. She finally laughed.