When someone steals something from your car, it is simply called theft or burglary. If the car was broken into, you say that your car was burglarized. This is simply terrible and demeaning and can cause some serious damage.
From things like important bank information, to losing important things like a laptop, cell phone, or expensive sunglasses, this can lead to some serious losses financially. In one experience, someone stole my expensive tenor saxophone from the trunk of my car, along with my spare tire and some tools while I was parked buying groceries at a Food 4 Less in Southern California.
Though my car has been broken into some other times, I had to provide a witness account to a police investigation recently while traveling up to Northern California for some courses.
I had stopped at a rest area to pee and grab a coffee. While I was at the vending machines, I saw a girl running toward her car and as I worked my way back, I saw that there was a guy standing by my driver’s side window (I could see his shoes under my car from where I was standing). Growing suspicious, I walked up to my car and he got into his car which was parked next to mine.
The car next to that one had a broken passenger-side backseat window broken and I figured that they had undergone a minor accident while parking or something. It wasn’t until the car between us left that a girl came up to my window and asked me if I had seen anybody near her car. That’s when she told me what happened: someone broke the window and went to steal something from her car. It was her laptop bag that was missing.
She was by herself and seemed to be running around asking everybody if they had seen anybody breaking into her Subaru, but nobody had seen anything. I started searching around for some tape just in case she needed it to reseal her car window at least for the drive back, but I couldn’t find anything. That’s when I remembered the suspicious guy standing by my window and told her about it.
She said that the guy seemed nice and offered his cell phone in case she needed it, so she didn’t think it had been him –but you never really know. It sucks.
She had to wait for CHP at a rest area in the middle of nowhere desert of central California (by Bakersfield), by herself, with a missing laptop.
From Personal Experience, File a Report
Most people want to just move on with their lives and forget about it, but filing a police report can really save your butt when it comes to bank fraud or if you discover that something very important went missing later on. If that ends up being the case, you at least have a record showing that the car was broken into and have an official record to prove it.
When my car was stolen, the thieves ended up taking a checkbook and managed to get Chase bank to cash a check for $500 with a fake signature. Thanks to having a record on file, I was able to recover the money a bit faster, even though I believe a bank is supposed to cover you from fraud especially when the signature was extremely off from my own on a check.
The thing here is that this can happen just about anywhere. Grocery stores, mechanic shops, and even at the gas station while you’re only ten feet away from your car! Experienced thieves can break a window, grab something valuable, and walk away casually.
Another Experience Outside a BJ’s Restaurant
During a staff meeting at my old job, while we were all inside, someone broke into a coworkers car and stole his GPS right from the windshield. Apparently that’s all they took, but we all took a lesson from that. Back then, people would leave their GPS devices stuck to the windshields and it was definitely a bad call. The neighborhood was supposed to be very safe.
Some Tips and Tricks to Deter Theft
Hide or remove valuables from plain sight because if a thief wants it and they see it, they will take it.
Be careful where you park. Though a theft can happen anywhere and even in plain daylight, you can lower the odds of having something stolen if you park somewhere that is well-lit and not hidden somewhere where nobody passes by.
Think again about what you do with your car alarm. This is something that I’ve thought about quite a lot, and that’s that a car alarm is the most boy-who-cried-wolf thing ever: it always goes off and its never something serious, so we just hear it and shut it off. One of these times it might be for real.
If something does get stolen though, you should take inventory of what you lost and file a police report right away. If you had valuable information that could identify you or your financial information, be sure to contact those institutions right away as well.
Things like these are social security cards, credit cards, checkbooks, bank statements, and IDs.
If your window got broken into, or if your keyhole/door got broken into, you’ll have to repair that as well before you hit the road again.
Car thieves cause a lot of damage mentally as well. I have actually become kind of paranoid when it comes to taking my car anywhere I’m not familiar with, making sure that I carry my laptop with me if I’m coming from work, or hiding most of my stuff under a jacket or under my seats.
The car that I’m driving is kind of giving me peace of mind as well, since I doubt that there is much value in a 20 year old big guzzler, though this car has one attempted robbery and has been stolen once.