Monday, November 21, 2011

Stolen Car

So I was with a girlfriend the other day.  She needed to pick up her stolen car that was recovered by our Hometown PD.  I was there for moral support.  It was interesting to watch her, as a victim of the crime.  We came armed with antibacterial wipes and rubber gloves, convinced that whoever perpetrated such a crime must've also left all kinds of bodily fluids and goo throughout the vehicle. CA Cop had offered his input:

"The interior will have ashes everywhere and smell like bud. Oh and an empty hard liquor bottle will be rolling around on the floor board of the back seat."

I went ahead and looked up some information online about reclaiming a stolen vehicle and ended up reading horror stories about drug needles left pointing up in the drivers seat and all sorts of awful things. *I recommend skipping this step if you ever have to go pick up a stolen vehicle*

We were greeted by the friendly woman at the front desk of the Tow Company (wolf in sheep's clothing, let me tell you, just wait til you hear what the bill was).  She went on and on about what a cute car my friend had and that it was in great shape.  We followed her out to the tow yard and there amidst crumpled and neglected vehicles was my friend's shiny sedan. It appeared out of place among its current company.  We hesitantly approached it and peered in through the windows.  The driver and passenger seats were reclined so far back that they were nearly resting on the backseat. I rolled my eyes at this observation as I pictured the freakin' thugs who may have been lounging in her vehicle. Other than that the interior looked unscathed, I mean seriously not an ash nor a bottle. Not a hair and certainly no needles.  We gloved up before we touched anything and wiped it down with the germ removers three times over for peace of mind. 

Her car had been in the tow yard for an hour and a half and had been towed less than three miles to the yard.  The bill was $300.  Yup.  I was shocked, I felt like she was victimized twice.

It was an interesting experience, one that I hope to not have to repeat.  Later that evening I was explaining to CA Cop just how clean the interior of her vehicle was when it occurred to me,

"Hey, how come Hometown PD didn't dust for fingerprints or anything? I mean clearly they didn't because there was no dust in her car."

"I never dust for prints"

"Really? Never?"

"Nope, well I guess I occasionally do a what I like to call a 'PR dusting'."

Half joking I said, "What do mean? The owner is standing right there so you sprinkle some dust around his car with no intention of lifting a print?"


"Seriously? You just sprinkle dust everywhere?"


I sat there and pictured this. Him sprinkling dust everywhere, the poor victim hoping the dirt bag will be brought to justice. But its just not a priority in Baytown or in Hometown. CA Cop says there are hundreds of fingerprints in and around cars and its just not practical to collect the prints.

So what's your experience with stolen vehicles? Is this typical where you live/work? Were you shocked by that tow fee?


  1. Our DA says that even if we find prints in a car, it doesn't prove that person stole the car, it just proves he touched the car, so we don't print stolens.

  2. I don't print anything unless I can see a print and it inside. Because outside, anyone is allowed to touch.

    Our DA's wont file a theft case even with video these days. Its silly!

  3. DA's are so over worked that they will rarely take anything that isn't a slam dunk case. Only if the case has a real political slant or you have an exceptional DA who is willing to try cases that aren't gimmies. At my old agency, we still dusted stolens, but we did not even respond to vehicle burglaries, so those weren't getting dusted. Lots of other things too. Money is tight and resources slim. And you wait, I betcha see a "reduction in crime stats" being touted, when in reality, we are not going to take the reports anymore, so that is what really lowers the stats. - Officer

  4. RD- CA Cop said the same thing that the prints don't really prove anything anyway. Perhaps I should lay off "Law and Order" or "CSI"?

    Mr Police Man- It doesn't seem like our DAs file much of anything. I'm blown away at how many of these guys just walk away unless its something major. CA Cop is in a high crime part of the county and so there are lots of "high priority" cases. No time for the small stuff. Can't help but wonder if the small stuff were handled would there ultimately be less big stuff?

    Officer- With all the lay offs in our area I fully expect the "reduction in crime stats" as well. I mean agencies are significantly downsized. Working with skeleton crews. How could there not be with fewer officers making arrests, etc?

    -CA Cop Wife