I was parked in a parking garage Monday and found an unpleasant surprise waiting for me when I left work.
I approached my car visually inspecting the tires and such as I typically do before I get in the car. I just checked the passenger side and saw nothing unusual and walked around to the other side and noticed that my driver door was opened. A split second later, I noticed a man laying in the floor with his legs hanging out of the car door into the parking lot.
Paraphrasing, here is the conversation that followed this discovery.
"What are you doing?" I asked
"I am trying to get my car started."
"This is my car."
The thief then paused and said, "I will be honest with you. I was going to steal it. But just for a little while."
While this conversation was going on he got up and was maneuvering himself so he could get away. The last thing he said was, "Don't tell anybody." and then he ran away. (obviously I didn't not tell anybody)
I stood stunned and shocked for a few moments amazed at what had just happened and then began to inspect my vehicle. It looked like he had been there for a while. He had taken the time to go through my glove box and center console and then organize what he wanted to keep and left what he wasn't interested in. He also spent some time on the ignition switch trying to force it with a screwdriver or something. After this he took the assembly under the steering wheel apart and started working on the wiring when I had found him.
The only thing that I noticed that he took was my rescue tool/pocket knife.
I got in the car and went home.
I spent Monday evening and the next day thinking about everything that had happened.
What if it had gone down badly.
What if he pulled a knife or a gun on me. I know he had one. He just stole one from the center console of my car.
What if he was high on drugs or reacted violently when he saw me.
I had handled the whole situation poorly. But then in my defense, I had not really thought through what to do when
something like this happens. Here are my thoughts.
If you see someone in your car, don't alert him to your presence. Get security or the police before confronting the criminal. If you should alert him to your presence, keep a good distance from him. Watch his hands and eyes closely for signs that he is going to make a move towards you. If you are attacked, do something to draw attention to yourself. Yelling or screaming would be effective.
Note that the parking garage companies are not in business to do more that give you a place to park. Beyond collecting your daily or monthly parking fee, they have little interest in protecting you or your car. They will tell you that it is not their responsibility if something happens to your car. Their security is basically sending a man through the lot once an hour and they have cameras at the exits. It is your responsibility to keep your car safe even though it is in their garage.
What are your thoughts?