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What to do if Someone Breaks Into Your Car

The dollar figure of goods stolen from cars is around 1.2 billion dollars. 

 It's my pleasure(? not really) to report that I was able to add a few hundred dollars to the pot the other day. On a sunny Memphis morning, I pulled into the parking lot of my children's school ten minutes after its official start. I'd be doing volunteer hours there that day, so I grabbed my bag and slung it over my shoulder. Go, Go, GO… we're late-late-LATE. This, by the way, never makes the children go faster. In fact, I suspect it makes them go slower.

What I failed to do amidst the grabbing of various small people and their accessories was to retrieve my cell phone from the inner console where it serves it's primary function which is to stream a Pandora station titled "Journey" that has been carefully managed to play twenty two specific songs that are not only stadium eighties rockingly awesome but are safe to listen to around my children. The first time you hear your under age six children belt out "Any way you want it/THAT'S the way you need it" in unison, it might be the coolest you'll ever feel in your LIFE. 

The kids made it to the front door. I made it inside. I did my volunteer work.  

A few minutes later, I was treated to a slow motion moment as I sat in my car, looked to my right and saw that the shatter proof window on my Prius was doing its damnedest not to shatter. I looked down. My cell phone was gone. The charger was still there. They took the auxiliary cable which I thought was funny for some reason.

Now, I know you're supposed to get upset when something like this happens, but I just got super calm. Like, okay, that's cool, someone broke into my car, now let's fix this calm. Now I'm thinking to myself, why shouldn't you, my friends, benefit from my super scary calmness? 

What to Do When Someone Breaks Your Car Window & Steals Your Cell Phone in a School Parking Lot that Also Happens to be a Church Parking Lot - No, For Real. Seriously.


Look around. Someone committed a crime in your car. Go back to where there are (non-criminal type) people and reassess whether it's safe to go back.

Call the Police Department. Try not to call 9-1-1 because, I know you're not going to like this, but your car getting broken into just kind of sucks and is not really an actual emergency. 

Retribution. Quickly e-mail and call all of your friends and ask them to text things like "Jerry wired the fifty large, the hit is on" to your cell phone.  Alright. I didn't actually do this.

Cancel all of the phone things. Call your cell phone provider, suspend your service, report the phone stolen and ask them to give you its serial number. 

File a police report. If you're planning on engaging in a farce that entails pretending your auto insurance provider/agent has a soul, you'll need to have this on hand.

Call your insurance company. Then hang up the phone and scream "What the hell do I pay you for ANYWAY?!" because your agent has just informed you that you have a deductible that is probably about $50 less than the repairs needed and you might as well just not file the claim.

Don't give up. Most people were good before someone broke your window (in a school/church parking lot, no, seriously, wth) and stole your cell phone and, my dear, most people are still good.

If you have any doubt about the last one, think about the principal who walked out of her office in the middle of the morning and helped you clean glass out of your car despite the fact that those pieces of glass drew blood.

Close your eyes and think of how the officer reminded you that, yes, you're right, maybe you did leave your phone in the car, but that doesn't mean that someone else being a thief is somehow your fault.

Remember the kindness of the woman that cradled your son in her arms for an extra hour so he would take a nap while you went to vacuum glass in the seats and buy plastic to cover your window.

Think of the sweet, helpful children who stood by your car in the parking lot when they could have been playing and instead helped you affix plastic to your car as you tried to fabricate a makeshift window. 

So, yeah, 1.2 billion dollars in items were stolen from cars this year. According to my research, though, for every one person that steals something from someone's car, there's at least eight people who are there trying to make it right. 

That's a statistic I can definitely live with.


photo credit: Sirkku :) via photo pin cc

References (3)

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    Response: richard goozh
    Native Born - Blog - What to do if Someone Breaks Into Your Car
  • Response
    NFL is seriously one particular of the largest sports in America. It has a significant following.
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    Native Born - Blog - What to do if Someone Breaks Into Your Car

Reader Comments (12)

Journey. Pfft...

(Sorry you lost your phone and the smashage)

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterB.E. Earl

@B.E. Earl : Stopit. Journey rocks. Go listen to "Oh Cherie." I dare you not to sing along.

May 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterFaiqa Khan

Sorry to say, but when we lived in Memphis we had our car broken into 4 times, our home 1 time, things from backyard storage 3 times, and my husband was mugged once. It was one of the main reasons we left to come back to Florida! Yes people were nice, I had several police officers who came to lunch at Miss Cordelia's who would give me inside info on how to deal with it. Leon the postman promised to keep an eye out for our missing things, etc.... but eventually we just wanted to leave a place where poverty & drug use made people so desperate they had to hurt others because they had no other recourse available!! Don't let them get you down!
And my 10 year old son and I sing "Don't Stop Believing" at the top of our lungs with the windows down! Sometimes that is the BEST part of my day! :-)

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBlondefabulous

Holy crap - that sucks! However, no one was hurt (blood from the shattered glass aside) and that really IS what counts most. (I would have to remind myself of that as I'd want to smash the face of whomever did it. Repeatedly.)
You should get a Weezer channel. Kids love Weezer. And Bob Marley.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSybil Law

A few months ago, we were at the farmer's market on kirby, and someone smashed the window next to my daughter's carseat and took her backpack. Her pink backpack with her name on it. It still makes me livid. Her little pink water bottle, extra diapers, a magnadoodle for heaven's sake... Hope they found it useful, the lowlifes. Couple guys from the store helped me clean the bits of glass out of her carseat. And while I'm waiting for the police to arrive, not one but TWO glass repair trucks magically appear.
Glass in her carseat- just the visual is upsetting.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSayra

Well, at least it wasn't Tariq's iPad . . .

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

I haven't had that happen in years. It was so long ago they stole an MP3 player before the iPad had been invented. I was pissed and felt violated, especially since I was visiting my parents in a nice neighborhood with little crime. I've been pretty lucky since. I didn't do anything.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCorey Feldman

The weekend before 9/11, I had my car broken into. On the morning of 9/11, I had no radio and therefore, no clue what was going on when I walked into my office and was greeted with chaos.

Sooo.... I am still creeped out by car break-ins -- I won't even leave my car unlocked in my own driveway (which is overkill in this neighborhood)

Sorry you had to to go through that. Yes, it is just a phone, but it is also a violation. Ugh. Hang in there!

Straight out of school I moved into the Mission District in San Francisco. The first time my mother came to visit her car was broken into. The thieves took the bag of tomatoes and oranges that she had bought at the various produce markets in my neighborhood. When her alarm went off and she saw the damage, she wondered what kind of neighborhood I lived in. But then the various neighbors poured out onto the street to find out what was going on. And it turns out that the one of the guys who ran the corner store had actually chased the thieves for several blocks -- information he shared with the police when they showed up. So yeah it kind of sucked but I also learned that I lived in a real neighborhood -- a place where people watched out for one another.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKailyn

I'm so sorry to hear that :( I read your post and then as I was heading out to run an errand I realized my wallet was missing from my purse. I looked everywhere and ultimately in my car, parked on the curb outside, with an unlocked door. I just got lucky. You got unlucky. No blame like your principal said can be placed as the person who stole is the person who stole. Sorry about it but what a beautiful perspective and reminder that for all the disappointing situations there are so many more trying to make it right. *hugs*

May 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAisha

Which reminds me - I need your new number.

Also, I hope "Dude, this body is starting to smell" freaked the bastards out!

May 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Britt

Damn... I hate thieves that damage property just to get a phone or another item they think will add something to their life of needing money for something other than milk, bread or paying the power bill.

Hope you were able to get your window repaired.

The items left out on the open are what consumes my thoughts as I leave the car, lock it and walk away.

May 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermartymankins

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