"They're stealing my car! Wade, they're stealing my car!"
I yelled this like a quarterback's mom at a football game as I watched my car being backed out of my driveway just two weeks ago. Creepy thing was, I was being watched as well.
We had just returned from a family dinner at Joe T-Garcias on a beautiful, balmy July Thursday night. Wade and I had our Hispanic babies in tow -- okay they're 10- and 12-year old girls, but I think of them as our children -- and they were staying to spend the night. I sent them upstairs and remembered a few things I left in my car. I walked outside, popped the trunk, retrieved a bag, and came back inside.
Two minutes later, I was making my way up the stairs to our window-framed landing when I saw the glow of red lights on the driveway below. Why were police lights in my driveway? I wondered. I looked out and saw two black males standing in front of the car as one driver backed it down the driveway. Even in my shock, I was able to take a mental picture of one of the boys.
CRASH! In his haste to commit Grand Theft Auto, the driver ran into the brick stoop that frames our side staircase. I guess he'd been taught that if you're going to do something, you may as well do it right, so he kept going, slowing down only to pick up the white male who stood at our curb as guard post.
Upon hearing my holler, my crimestopper husband leapt from the couch where he was resting his tired, bare feet. This is important to note because he ran outside like our Jack Russell Terrier chases after cats. Wade began to scream choice expletives at the criminals, waving his finger gun and tearing the pads of his toes on the hard, tarred street. The boys were well on their way down Elizabeth and turned left at the 8th Avenue light, disappearing with my car.
Angeles, seasoned in watching crimes being committed, grabbed my phone and thrust it toward me. "Here Mrs. Speer! Call the police!"
I called. They came. We looked outside and realized the boys had rifled through my husband's unlocked car first, found a key fob and realized they hit the jackpot when it started my car (also unlocked). I also learned later on our neighborhood Facebook page they had started their spree two hours earlier, going through other unlocked cars for stolen treasures. I was so pumped on adrenaline that I went into full crimestopper mode, nearly tearing the report from the policeman's hand as I eagerly completed a full, written description of the perpetrator. I was also excited to use the word "perpetrator" in an official form, shortening it to "perp" in my discussion with the police officer. I'm sure he was impressed. Or not.
Our next late-night interruption came two days later in the form of a phone call. The police found the car and it was ready for pick up at a towing yard in Euless. No church for us Sunday morning. I felt like we were going to pick up a lost dog from the pound as we drove up to the office. "Can I see my car now?" I begged the man behind the window. "Sure!" he answered, just after I dropped nearly $300 to get it out. Ouch.
What we saw next nearly made me physically ill. As I opened the door to my little Kia Sorento, a wave of stale smoke nearly knocked me to the coliche-covered ground. The criminals left handcuffs, random phone charging cords, Wendy's french fries, and a bag of clothing in case a change of clothes became necessary. Also left on the floor was Jesus' green card -- not the same likeness as my Lord and Savior -- and a Big Red soda. Finally, they even used my favorite lipstick to create artwork on one of the headrests. The artist even signed his work, "Kobe."
Getting in my violated vehicle made my skin crawl, so dear husband drove it away while I followed him in his car.
Thanks to the FWPD and our wonderful neighborhood officer, Sergio Gualdarrama, we uncovered a few more details about the incident (I say "we" because I felt like an empowered citizen now and I was determined to get 'em.) Little did I know that the perps had been arrested -- all four of them. The driver was only 15 -- just a year older than my twin daughters -- and the other three already held criminal records for armed robbery. The officer also informed me they had already processed the vehicle by the time I picked it up. In other words, the police removed the big ticket items the boys had stolen, including guns (yes, guns in my car) and left the residual goods inside.
It makes me distressed to think that when the 15 year old hopped in the drivers' seat that night, he would take a turn that would forever change the course of his life. Maybe he had a chance. Maybe he was a good athlete or excelled in math or science. Now he'll have Grand Theft Auto on his permanent record. I hope when he returns from his vacation in juvey that he'll find a new group of friends and start over.
My little lost Kia is in the car hospital, recovering from the scrapes and bruises to the tune of $8,000 (thank God for insurance). Our house has a broken limb, which we'll fix eventually.
I'll end this story with its moral, something policemen every preach on a daily basis. DON'T LEAVE ANYTHING OF VALUE IN YOUR CAR (especially a key fob) and LOCK IT EVERYWHERE YOU GO.