A drama that began 27 days ago, on November 15, 2013, came to a close on Wednesday. My stolen Nissan Pathfinder is now back in my possession after nearly a month. The reunion comes with mixed feelings. I’ll recap the story from the top for those who are interested.
It was a beautiful Friday morning. I looked out my window upon awakening, and glanced at the area in front of our condo where we park our cars. It is not my habit to look out the window in the morning, but on that day I did. I did a double-take of denial and doubt when my gaze was met with a cold piece of asphalt where my car was parked the night before. Mike and I ran outside to “make sure” it was gone. Yep. What the heck?
Though it was difficult to grasp the reality that it was gone, action needed to be taken immediately. Fortunately, noticing its absence long before I was due to leave for work was helpful, as it allowed time to call the police and my insurance company. The police came promptly to examine. Mike dutifully led them to the place where a car-shaped dry batch marked the pavement. “See, it was right there!” With no leads to follow, the officers left a business card and promised to file a police report on our behalf.
The plot thickened later that morning after Mike drove me to work. Mike saw my car, with one of the thieves inside, parked at Burger King!! He circled to verify that it was mine, while the shady looking driver lurked inside the vehicle. Doing the wise thing, Mike immediately tried to call 911. His cheap, poor-coverage cell phone would not dial out! Frustrated, he dashed across the street to a bank and frantically flagged down a teller who took pity on him and let him use her iPhone.
While he was on the phone with the police, the man got out of the car, went into Burger King and reemerged moments later with a female companion.They proceeded to drive away – in MY CAR! – while Mike gave details over the phone. The police showed up two minutes later, but the thieves were gone. SO CLOSE to recovery, yet so far away.
That was the only lead we got. We prepared for the possibility of buying a new car, which would become a reality if the car was not recovered within 21 days. That is the time frame mandated to elapse by insurance before they pay out for the loss. While I was not keen to the idea of taking on car payments again (the Pathfinder has been paid off for over three years), I was warming up to the idea of a new-to-me vehicle. No need. 13 days after it was stolen, I received a call from the sheriff’s office that it had been found and towed to a local tow yard. I got the message late on Wednesday, November 27 – the day before Thanksgiving. The yard was closed and would not be open again until Friday.
Checking out the vehicle on Friday morning revealed that it had a broken driver’s window, it would not start, and the security system would not turn off after the disconnected battery was reconnected – not to mention damage to the stereo and trash all over the vehicle. Seemed like fairly major damage to me, and I figured a total was in my future and I’d be car shopping after all.
That turned out not to be the case. The mechanical issues were fairly minor and windows are not that expensive. The biggest cost by far was towing it from its location to the tow yard, storage fees, then to the body shop and dealership. Since I had psyched myself out for getting a new car, I had mixed reactions to getting my violated car back. Especially being unsure what other unseen damage might have been done.
As I drove it away from the shop on Wednesday, despite the uneasy feeling generated from “sharing” my car with unknown creeps, I could not help but smile. I do love (ahem, care a great deal for) that car and had been regularly mindful, prior to its theft, about how grateful I am to have it. The reunion, though tepid, is ultimately joyous, and an occasion to give thanks. It is a great vehicle, and though it is hitting it’s golden years, I’m pleased to have it back, and to be the one to drive it to its grave. 🙂