Last week at the North American International Auto Show, a dynamic thieving duo stole a BMW 750i xDrive sedan parked outside the luxurious (for Detroit) Westin Book Cadillac hotel. The dark grey car was one of 19 in town for the show’s press week.
The BMW was about to be loaded on to a hauler, according to the Detroit Free Press, “but the truck’s driver went to grab something from inside the cab and was away from the BMW for about a minute when it was stolen.”
Queue jumpers, lane blockers, gas pump dawdlers, parking lot prima donnas and stop-sign Samaritans: it's enough to make you road weary
This brazen theft resulted in the loss of one $140,000 car and millions of dollars of free publicity.
Anyone seeing the thieves is asked to give them a grudging “thumbs up.”
Upon reading this news it was hard for me to know whether to be excited, as in “Cars are hot!” or to be dismayed, as in “Cars are hot?”
And it made me wonder about the safety of my own vehicle; after all, if a car can be stolen in Detroit, it could happen anywhere.
Personally, I’ve never owned an automobile anyone would want to steal. It’s hard to imagine anyone stealing a minivan, unless the thief, having grown tired of his exciting, devil-may-care existence, is having an existential crisis and wants to find out what it’s like to live a waking nightmare.
Nope, usually, when one of my rides gets jacked the damage being done is more about stealing something of great value out of the car. You know, the thieves smash a window and make off with the Mars bar that I’ve foolishly left on the front seat.
Yet, apart from not owning anything anyone would want to steal, there are other ways to avoid theft.
Let’s face it, some vehicles are almost impossible not to steal. How else could car theft cost more than a billion dollars annually? According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, some of the most ripped-off vehicles in 2010 were Hummers, Cadillacs and Acuras (but, if you ask me, it’s probably mostly Hummers). Why Hummers? No one knows exactly, though it’s a fair to say that most people, if they saw a Hummer being stolen, would not do anything except maybe snicker.
Three Wheel Good
After parking, remove one of the wheels from your vehicle. It may seem a lot of work but most thieves do not carry a spare wheel with them.
Steering wheel clamp
Fasten this claw to your steering wheel and it will be immobilized. That’s the idea anyway. No one knows if they actually work or if car thieves can, as the elders say, undo them simply by looking at them. These are usually found in beat-up pieces of crap parked in front of my house. Also found in cars which use steering wheel clamps as theft deterrents: scratched Hootie and the Blowfish CDs, mouldy crumbling Lush bath bombs, various beads, a cat.
American singer/songwriter William Royce “Boz” Scaggs was born in Canton, Ohio in 1944 and spent his formative years in Texas. A darling of the rock and roll press, Scaggs has had many top 10 successes including his seminal 1976 hit Lowdown. No car Scaggs has been in has ever been stolen. So, if you can befriend Boz Scaggs, and have him ride around with you, the chances of your car being stolen drop to almost zero.
Make sure your car has an alarm system so hyper-sensitive that it can be set off by a monarch butterfly landing on the car’s bumper. When thieves break into your vehicle, the alarm will sound loudly, letting your neighbours know it’s time for them to once again sigh and say, “I hate that moron. I hope his car is really getting stolen this time.”
Make it okay
Encourage thieves to steal your car by painting “Steal my car” on the side of your car or simply leave a “Feel free to take my car” sign on your dashboard. Most car thieves are not very bright and many have oppositional personalities. If they think they will please you by robbing you, they won’t do it.
Ride a Bike
This way they will not be able to steal your car. They’ll be stealing your bike.
And finally, and perhaps most importantly:
When in Detroit...
...Do not leave a $140,000 vehicle unattended for one minute in front of a luxury hotel when two car thieves are watching you.
Any driver who applies these techniques should be able to avoid having his car stolen, and, if it is stolen, the driver can at least find comfort in saying, “I did everything I could.”
It won’t give him a new car (your insurance company will do that) but it will take the sting out of being stung.
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There’s no sure cure for Obsessive Car Devotion – it’s enough to drive you mad, writes Andrew Clark
Better safe than sorry when driving through wicked weather