Phyllis S. Donovan: Thieves In Night Hit Too Close To Home

We had heard about the recent thefts of cars and car parts that have been happening around this area, but since my own car is parked in my garage, I wasn’t too concerned about it until lately.

I have wonderful neighbors across the street who have four children fast reaching adulthood. After their twin girls graduated from Maloney High School a while back, they were both old enough to get cars of their own so the daily shuffling of cars in their driveway began.

At that time, I was only using my car for doctor appointments and meetings so I offered to have them park one of their cars in my driveway. It seemed to work out well and somehow felt safer having a car parked on the premises at night.

Not long ago, my neighbor texted me about a car theft one night in our neighborhood. She asked us to check my ring camera which is focused on the front of my house and see if we saw any activity on it during the night.

Sure enough, when my daughter looked back on the previous night’s time frame, we saw two cars speeding over our usually quiet hill in the middle of the night. We couldn’t get a license plate number or even see the make of the cars, so it didn’t give the police much to go on.

Then a couple of weeks ago, my neighbor texted me again. This time she told me that when her daughter who usually parked in my driveway went out to drive it that morning it made a terrible noise. When her father checked it, he found that the catalytic converter was missing. Someone had stolen it in the night.

Back to checking the ring cam.  And, sure enough, at 4:30 in the morning a big pickup truck with bright lights drove up and parked kitty corner at the curb right behind the girl’s car. It shone a spotlight on it while someone cut off the catalytic converter. It took less than three minutes to do the job and be on their way. As my oldest son commented when I told him how fast that theft took, “Portable electric saws make quick work of exhaust pipes!”

Also, with that bright spotlight leveled on the car and toward our house, we couldn’t see the truck’s make or license plate. So they got away with it.

It was hard to believe how brazen those thieves were to drive up, park and efficiently steal that part, then take off so fast that even if someone saw them out there and called the police they would have been long gone before anyone came.

Unfortunately, if they were seen committing the crime, it would probably be a mistake for a homeowner or neighbor to confront them. The whole idea of someone doing something that bold and outrageous in our quiet neighborhood is hard to get our minds around.

Watching them perform the theft on the ring cam footage just prompts a helpless feeling because it was accomplished so smoothly while we were sleeping.  It clearly wasn’t the first time they had done it, and the family was left with the expense of the tow and replacement of that catalytic converter.

Yes, the insurance paid some of it, but with a big deductible, a hard-working young student was stuck with a hefty bill and we all felt violated.


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