Hi everyone! In an unfortunate and unprecedented turn of events, my beloved Honda Civic was stolen by vagrant thieves this past Friday. In front of my own home. In the dead of the night. On Saint Patrick’s Day. Needless to say, the good ol’ Luck of the Irish has once again eluded me. Now, I’m sure many of you are saying to yourselves, Rachel, why is this unprecedented? People’s cars get stolen all the time. Well, I’ll tell you Karen. Because a car of mine has been stolen before.
Not too long ago, in a magical land far far away (downtown Stamford) I allowed an employee of the restaurant I was working at to use my newly leased Lexus for a food delivery. Upon arrival, he had decided that it would be a good idea to leave the car running with the keys inside and the driver’s door ajar, which essentially served as an invitation for any passerby with two eyes and an axe to grind to steal it. Before long, (literally maybe thirty seconds) a homeless man jumped into the car and took off on a joy ride that ended in disaster.
After the police were notified, they were able to use the car’s GPS to track down the burglar and attempted to retrieve the vehicle. Where did he bring it? You may be asking yourselves. To a chop shop? To go pick up drugs? To an abandoned area where he and other likeminded homeless gentlemen could have an orgy on my newly refurbished red leather seats? Nope. This man had other plans, and instead took it to a local Wendy’s because apparently, he had a fucking hankering for a Baconator and a Vanilla Frosty.
What happened next, I don’t believe our Brothers in Blue were particularly prepared for. After waiting (for a reason which still eludes me to this day) for our Friendly Neighborhood Homeless Man to reenter the vehicle (instead of just seizing it when they had the chance), the officers surrounded and attempted to apprehend him. Again, this man had other plans, and responded by gunning it full speed at the officers. Please see below for the details on what happened next, as well as a link to the news article recapping what exactly took place in case you have a few minutes of free time and think I’m lying to you.
“The suspect, later identified as Carlos Frijole, 38, responded by throwing his car in reverse, slamming into an unmarked police cruiser — narrowly missing a few officers on foot who leaped out of the way — and driving off at a “high rate of speed.”
Frijole reportedly lost his tail as he sped off down George Avenue. He remained off the police’s radar until a few hours later when an officer spotted the stolen vehicle in a driveway off Couch Street.
Again, police said they attempted to spring a trap on Frijole, only to have him ram another cruiser, drive up onto the lawn of a home and re-enter traffic via the sidewalk in what police called a ‘dangerous, reckless manner.’
This time, however, police were able to follow Frijole as he drove erratically toward Taylor Avenue. Police said after turning onto Taylor, Frijole left the roadway and attempted to drive on the sidewalk, where he sideswiped two parked cars and flipped his car.
Even trapped inside of the car with the airbags deployed, police said, Frijole continued to resist arrest. Eventually, officers managed to cuff Frijole and take him to police headquarters.
Frijole was charged with first-degree larceny of a motor vehicle, resisting arrest and two counts each of reckless driving, engaging police in a pursuit, second-degree reckless endangerment, assault of a public safety officer, operating a motor vehicle under suspension and evading responsibility.”
Police: Norwalk man led police on ‘dangerous’ pursuits twice in one day (thehour.com)
Well, he went down fighting, I’ll give him that much. I’m also displeased with the creative liberty taken by the journalist in repeatedly calling MY STOLEN VEHICLE “his car”, but I guess that’s neither here nor there.
Regardless, the car, although eventually recovered, was completely totaled and I never received the apology from Mr. Frijole that I felt I was owed. Not even so much as a sympathy card sent from prison saying “Sorry I almost committed vehicular manslaughter in a car registered in your name. I’m a homeless addict and felt like cruising for a Crispy Chicken Combo.” Instead, my only form of solace is immediately declining every time I’m asked at CVS checkout to donate $1 to homeless recovering addict veterans with cataracts and one dislocated shoulder blade.
So, you may be wondering, what happened this time around? Did Frijole get out of jail with some sort of misplaced vendetta against me and decide to come back for round two? Unlikely. But then again, as Justin Bieber once said, never say never. This time around, the thieves have not been caught. Cue the Law and Order *Dun Dun* sound effect.
It was the crack of dawn (ten a.m.) when I heard someone entering my apartment with gusto. I was still struggling to open both of my eyelids when I was met with the panicked voice of my aunt.
“RACHEL WHERE’S YOUR CAR?” she shouted as I lay motionless.
I rent the apartment upstairs from her, and I was fairly certain that this was part of a routine line of questioning as to “why I parked six miles off the curb the night before” or “was I aware that my car had yet another dent and was at this point virtually unrecognizable”.
“Your car, it’s not parked outside. Did you drive it home last night?” She said ripping open the blinds and staring at the vacant spot on the street where I usually parked. I had.
Maybe it was towed? I thought to myself, remembering that for some reason the City of Stamford is struggling financially to the point that they’re going around to random neighborhoods booting cars with a single parking ticket. Nope, shockingly, no recent tickets came to mind.
Maybe it was repossessed? Nope. My boyfriend and I had just celebrated making the final payment on the car the VERY NIGHT before it was stolen. It was ours. Was being the operative word.
I glanced at my phone and saw an incoming call from said boyfriend, and I already knew what was coming.
“TELL ME YOU LEFT THE KEYS IN THE CAR. TELL ME. YOU LEFT THE CAR UNLOCKED WITH THE KEYS IN THE CAR AGAIN, RIGHT? HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT-“ he hung up midsentence. Then immediately called back.
“WHY? JUST TELL ME WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY WOU-?” He hung up again midsentence. This pattern repeated itself for the entire duration of his ride home, before he finally arrived home and entered to find me lying in the fetal position gagging.
“The police are here we have to go out and give a report,” he said more calmly, apparently noticing that I was mid panic attack.
After I pulled myself together and made it outside, I was met by a lovely policewoman with the reassuring tone I needed to hear after the verbal assault I had just received.
“Don’t worry, this type of thing happens all the time. It should be completely covered by insurance. Do you know how they might have been able to enter the vehicle?”
“SHE LEFT THE KEYS IN THE CAR AND THE CAR UNLOCKED” my boyfriend interjected. I motioned with my hand for him to stop talking.
“Do you think that they might just like, bring the car back?” I asked the officer. She looked at me for a long time with an all too familiar look of pity and confusion.
“Um.. no, no I don’t think so. Well, alright I’m going to take a ride around and see if I see it anywhere. Have a good day!”
After she had taken off, I sat on the sidewalk in a state of disbelief and despair. I had texted my friend Sean who worked in the police department asking for assistance, and his replies of “I’m not well versed in finding stolen cars” and “Was I expecting him to go out himself and search the streets for my Honda” were not particularly reassuring.
Then, in a shocking turn of events, (and the span of thirty minutes) the kindhearted policewoman from earlier called and let us know that she had found my vehicle during a routine canvassing of “known areas”. She asked that we follow another officer to the scene to identify the vehicle, but that she had matched the license plates and was confident it was mine.
“Wow, I guess Blue Lives really do matter,” I said to my bf, attempting to lighten the mood. He grimaced in a manner that suggested he was considering domestic violence, and I remained silent for the rest of the car ride.
After we arrived to the scene of the crime, I could not believe it. I still can’t believe it. It’s unbelievable, that’s why. There was my car, parked and unlocked on a street merely five minutes from my own home.
“Some kids probably broke into it last night, found the keys, and took it for a joy ride,” one of the cops said. “We should look inside and check if they left the keys. If not, we’ll have to have it towed.”
I opened the passenger door and was met with the familiar chaos that was typical for the inside of my car. A mountain of clothes and makeup, approximately 407 half-finished water bottles, a discarded fork from a salad I had eaten a week prior. I looked over at the police officer and I could tell that he was thinking to himself “Why did I just waste the better part of my morning looking for this piece of shit car?”
“Wow, they uh, really trashed it in here!” I said.
The officer looked relieved, and then suspicious. He took a step back and looked all around in every direction.
“You know, the thieves are probably watching us right now,” he said eerily.
As we sat waiting for the tow truck, I wondered if the officer was right. I wondered if Frijole was somewhere hidden in plane sight, watching me while he chowed down on a 4 for 4.
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