One Tuesday morning in October of my sophomore year of college, I went outside to my assigned parking space in my carport. My car did not seem to be there. Thinking I was just looking in the wrong space that was the only possible place where I could have parked it, I headed out on a search.
I was pretty sure my car was just messing with me, so after walking around the entire apartment complex, I returned to my space, ready to see my little turquoise Saturn giggling. No car. Then I began to ask myself questions that no one should ever ask: Did I secretly to myself get blackout drunk the night before and hide my car? Did I sleep drive? Did my car abandon me, angry at being uprooted from its Southern home and brought out West to socialize with cowboy cars?
None of these seemed particularly likely, as I don’t have a drinking problem or a sleeping problem and I know that only toys are actually capable of running away. After about twenty minutes of scratching my head I decided that my car may have been stolen.
And I reacted the way I reacted to every tiny conflict in my life up until recently, by breaking down into an absolute panic attack. Sobbing and hyperventilating, I called my mom, who has always found my histrionics to be a touch exhausting. She wisely recommended I call the police, as there wasn’t much she could do about my stolen car from 1,800 miles away.
My mom couldn’t possibly be aware that the Tucson PD doesn’t know its collective ass from its collective elbow. They came out and wrote a report, but told me that it wasn’t likely I’d ever see my car again, as it was probably border-bound.
After two weeks of driving a rental car that was so much nicer than my own (and more comfortable, for I had just had surgery on my tailbone, but that’s another story for another blog), it was time for me to accept that the Saturn wasn’t coming back. I loved my little turquoise piece of plastic, but wasn’t terribly upset at the thought of an auto upgrade…
The day after my parents and I started looking at new cars, I got a call from the Tucson Police Department. They found my car in a parking lot. Two minutes walking-distance from my apartment.
I sauntered over to meet the detectives, secretly praying they had the wrong vehicle, but there was no mistaking it: she was mine. The men in blue then proved both their competence and bravery by asking me to open the trunk myself so that they didn’t contaminate any evidence, in case there was a body. Jerks.
Upon finding out that my trunk cover was missing, Det. Asshat informed me it was probably used to roll around a dead person so they could throw the body away undetected. Considering that they didn’t take anything that had been left in the trunk as evidence, I now crack that hilarious teasing up to an authority figure using murder to scare an innocent 19 year-old.
Scared shitless, I drove my little Saturn home, promising that I would watch over her more carefully and make sure no one else tried to commit murder in her trunk.<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-643" title="I
I went to college in Tucson, Arizona. I drove a 1994 Saturn SL. Granted, I can’t find stat from 200_, but I found them from 2006 (at http://www.auto-theft.info/Statistics.htm), which is pretty close:
NICB’s Top 10 Most Stolen Autos in 2006
1. 1995 Honda Civic
2. 1991 Honda Accord
3. 1989 Toyota Camry
4. 1997 Ford F150 Serues
5. 2005 Dodge Ram P/UP
6. 1994 Chevy 1500 P/UP
7. 1994 Nissan Sentra
8. 1994 Dodge Caravan
9. 1994 Saturn SL
10.1990 Acura Integra
Top Ten Auto-Theft Cities 2007
1. Modesto, CA
2. Las Vegas, NV
3. San Diego / Carls-bad/San Marcos CA
4. Stockton, CA
5. San Francisco/ Oak-land/Freemont CA
6. Laredo, TX
7. Albuquerque, NM
8. Phoenix/Mesa/ Scottsdale AZ
9. Yakima, WA
10. Tuscon AZ
Given those odds, I am amazed it took two months for someone to steal it.