That time my car got stolen.

I was telling Amelie recently about the time my car got stolen.

In the summer of 1998, I had been at UCF for about six months, and I was still driving a fairly new 1997 Honda Civic.  The ’97 Civic was my first new car ever.  All my previous cars were used, but I needed something super reliable to go to college because there was going to be a fair amount of driving back and forth from Orlando to South Florida.  (Kind of like now, actually.)

Not actually my car, but it basically looked like this.

The ’97 Civic hatchback was a deep metallic purple color, dubbed “Dark Amethyst Pearl” by Honda.  I was driving down to South Florida to attend the wedding of some friends.   A friend who was catching a ride with me back to South Florida had just returned my spare keys to me, for reasons I no longer recall.  Because we were driving back I tossed them in the glove compartment and forgot about them.

When we got back to South Florida, I dropped off my passenger and parked at my mother’s house in Boynton Beach.  I grabbed most of my stuff out of the car, but left a small bag containing a cigarette case full of clove cigarettes, some clothing including my 1994 Nine Inch Nails long-sleeved concert t-shirt (the one with “All the piggies all lined up” written down the sleeve.)  Also left in the hatch of the car was a bottle of mixed alcohol, called Mage’s Fire, which was supposed to be a wedding gift for my friends.

A quick word about Mage’s Fire-  it’s a mix drink that I learned about during my extremely-brief interaction with the Society For Creative Anachronism, a medieval re-enactment group.  Mage’s Fire is 25% vodka, 25% blue curacao, and 50% DeKuyper’s “Hot Damn” cinnamon schnapps.  Mage’s Fire is best aged at least six months because it blends together a bit more over time and becomes smoother.  It is sometimes referred to as the mouthwash of the gods.  People have a very polarized reaction to Mage’s Fire-  they either love it or hate it. I can’t stand the stuff, but I liked to mix it up and share it with people who enjoyed it.  But I digress.

I woke up the next day, to find that my car was not where I had left it.  This is a very disorienting thing, because normally cars don’t go wandering on their own after you park them.  I realized with a quiet dread that this was the one and only time I had ever left the car parked with keys inside.  I called the police, filed a report, and wondered what to do next.

After a little while, the police called-  my car had been found abandoned in a field, with the sprinklers on around it.  The people who stole it just took it for a joyride, and then left it there with the doors wide open.    I had to go to an impound lot and pay a fee to get back my car, which I felt was a huge injustice for someone who was the victim of a crime.

The aftermath was kind of anti-climactic.    There was dark greasy powder all over the center console and on the seats that I was never able to fully clean off.  The Mage’s Fire and smokes and good t-shirts were stolen from the back.  In their place, the joyriders had left a shiny silver club shirt and a dirty pair of overalls.  It seemed for all the world like my car had taken place in a hillbilly raver exchange program.  I wondered if they were thankful for the fancy moonshine and tobacco they found in the hatch. I also wonder if they would have stopped at petty theft if they hadn’t found keys in the glove compartment to start the engine. Damn it.

As I write this, nearly twenty-one years later, I honestly don’t remember whether or not they stole the stereo from the car.  Memory is a strange thing.

Have you ever had a car stolen?


3 thoughts on “That time my car got stolen.

  1. jennnanigans

    I’ve never had a car stolen, but I’ve had a car broken into (he stole the CD player but I got it back by the end of the day because it was a neighborhood kid whose mom found his stash), and a purse stolen from work. Oh and some shoes stolen from my gym locker in high school.

    My coworker on the other hand had her Jaguar stolen! They went joyriding all the way from Merritt Island to Pine Hills, where they dumped it, after putting out cigarettes on the leather interior and side-swiping every guardrail on East Colonial. It was trashed and it took her FOREVER to get the total money for it. Now she’s got a new one and that ride is SWEET. She was very good natured about it though!

    Sorry your car got stolen. Glad it wasn’t too damaged though. And I remember that car! 😀


  2. Robert

    I’ve never had a car stolen or broken into, but I had a scooter stolen!

    When I was working in Dublin I found the fastest way to got to work was a scooter (that was before the days I did at least some sports) – by car the way to work was 25 to 40 minutes, by scooter it was 12. Every day, no matter the traffic (without any traffic in the night it took 7 minutes by car – without breaking any laws!).

    So my sister had a scooter left which I had put on a pallet and shipped to Dublin (suprisingly cheap – 120€ for 1 pallet across 3 or 4 countries, 2 channels and 1200 miles).

    One day I found the suspension to be broken, so I bought a new one and brought it over from Germany with some tools to fix the scooter.

    When I wanted to fix the darn thing the next Saturday morning, it was gone (and never be seen again).
    Insurance paid good money for it and I got myself a new one that I bought in Dublin (and insured in Germany because insurance for a scooter was hilarious/ridiculous in Ireland).


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