Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It Always Helps to Own the Stolen Vehicle You are Being Arrested for Driving

It is one thing to have your vehicle stolen from your own driveway while you sleep. It is another to be pulled over months later driving that same stolen vehicle with your kids in tow.  We had owned a popular version of a Chevy Silverado that had a spectacular paint job that sparkled in the sun.  The first time it was stolen from us out of a local parking lot should have been a signal to us not to purchase the exact same vehicle. When it never returned and was probably being sold off for parts, we did exactly what we shouldn't have done and bought the same style truck again.... same paint job... same shine.... same invisible sign that screamed "Come Steal Me."  Several years later, as the paint began to fade and the shine wasn't quite so obvious, it sat tucked safely in our carport full of all things a hunter would love.... guns, bright orange vests, Columbia jackets and more.  My husband rose early the next morning to take to the woods and join the masses in the first day of deer season.  Not being a good hunter wife, I only rise that early one day of the hunt and it's not to prepare eggs and bacon.  I join him because I'm the only one who knows where all the hunting gear has been stored for the rest of the year. We stood outside with our steaming cups of coffee admiring the moonlight as it cascaded over the garden and the sleeping dogs who obviously failed in their guard duties.  It was at about the exact same moment that we both realized there was much more space where we were standing than there was the night before. Something was missing.....the truck!  It's one of those moments of disbelief where you have to have a few more sips of coffee to understand exactly what has happened.  There is no great sound of realization, but rather a subtle whisper of "hmmmmmm.... the truck is gone."  Of course, we belong to that special club that gets to add one more word to that whisper of realization...."again!"   The truck was gone again.    There had been no dog barking during the night and no sound of engines roaring.  The vehicle had driven off silently as we slept away.   The funny thing about having something stolen is that is makes you crazy for a few weeks. You begin to look at everyone with suspicion and you see your stolen goods all over town out of your peripheral vision, never quite able to focus on them and you convince yourself you're seeing things. We went through all the motions of reporting the vehicle stolen, filling out all of the paperwork, and leaving it for the detectives to find.  They never did.  However... a month later a few boys on bicycles came out of the woods behind our house and spoke of an abandoned truck stuck in the mud miles down the powerline.   Being a good southern family, we jumped on the 4-wheeler (mom, dad, baby and a rifle) and shot down the powerline where we found our muddy truck, stripped of everything except for our Federal ID badges. I suppose the thieves knew that it was much more serious to steal those than our hunting truck.  Here is the funny thing about finding your own stolen vehicle.  You need to make sure the police log in their database that it has been recovered.  We informed the police, the insurance agent, our neighbors, the crazy guy down the road who we suspected all along and even told our friends and family about our fantastic find.  However.... somewhere deep in the police station, I suppose the report sat on a desk and never quite made it to data entry and unbeknownst to all, the truck remained listed as a stolen vehicle.  Can I tell you what happens when you are driving down the highway with your husband and a baby, none of whom have a shred of identification on them...... usually nothing..... unless they are driving a stolen vehicle!  As the blue lights flashed across the less shiny truck, a fearful realization took over that we were indeed going to be arrested for driving our own stolen vehicle. I hugged the baby, kissed her on the head and told her "Daddy's going to jail!"  The good thing about actually owning the stolen vehicle you are being arrested for driving is that you get out of jail free.  Of course, that's after your friends stop laughing and bring your identification to the jailhouse.

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