someone tried to steal our car

We decided to spend Friday night in downtown LA. We are on the homestretch, so to speak, of our annual mattress run to maintain our status with SPG.

We left the book signing, had lunch, and drove downtown via Olympic Boulevard as directed by WAZ. We had stayed at this hotel before, and I am not a fan of the parking lot, mostly because it is a maze. Ironically, the room rate B booked included the self-parking, although they also have valet.

This is how it works: You drive down the ramp and take a ticket. Then if you are not using the valet, you continue on and veer to the left where you exchange the ticket you just got for another. The gate lifts, and then you go up this twisty ramp at 5 mph to the fourth level, which was full, so we went up to the fifth, and parked.

We took the elevator and walked to the hotel. After checking in, we rested for a bit. Later, we walked down the street to Bottega Louie and had dinner. We got to watch the guys make pizza. We shared several dishes, including the Portobello fries, before sharing the butterscotch burdino for dessert.

We then went back to our room and finished reading the third book in the Incorrigible Children series. We will have to wait until April to find out what happens to that dim-witted squirrel, Nutsawoo.

In the morning, we had an early brunch at where else – Louie – and then went back to our room to pack things up. We checked out around 11:15, and headed back to the fifth level of the parking structure, with the intention of just heading back to the house.

I opened the trunk, and while B was putting the bags in there, I went around to the driver’s side to open the rest of the doors. I tried the key, but couldn’t get the lock to turn. I thought it was odd, and since I have a copy of the master-key, along with the valet key on my key ring, I decided to try the other key. No luck.

I told B and he tried his key, and the same thing happened. He went around to the passenger door, and there he could tell that someone had done something to the locks. His key did not work in that door either. This just didn’t seem real.

Not for anything, but our car is quickly approaching the 250,000 mile mark. B is the original owner, and the car is a like a part of the family by this point, but it is still 18 years old. We did just put new tires on it, after one lost a chunk on the freeway while I was changing lanes. Thankfully, we were able to get off the freeway without incident.

We don’t leave anything in our car when we park it overnight. The only thing visible on the back seat floor were two umbrellas. Even the security guard noted that our stereo (with its cassette deck) is factory installed. I know that people do this for the parts, but it still seems crazy.

B called AAA as we really didn’t know what else to do. They told us it would be an hour before someone could get there, so we went back down to the hotel and talked with security.

The security officer was nice, although I think at first he didn’t believe us either. But we showed him how both locks didn’t work, which seemed highly improbable if it were the case of the key giving out. Plus we had the two original keys and a copy. He took photos, and took our information. He told us he would check the video. No one has contacted us further. As far as he knew, no cars had been reported stolen overnight.

There was another car, similar to ours, but a bit newer, parked near us. I honestly couldn’t remember if it had been there when I parked. I hope that if it had whoever did this, didn’t do it to them too.

Another guard came and he managed to pop out our back seat from the trunk, but no one wanted to climb in, plus we had a locksmith on the way. Even if we could open the door, it didn’t solve the problem –  the locks were broken and the keys didn’t work. This is not an ideal situation. And going in or out the trunk, while clever, would get old quickly.

They left and we waited about 30 more minutes for the locksmith to arrive. I stood near the trunk searching the book for quotes from Agatha Swanborne. Perhaps she had some wisdom for such a situation.

The locksmith arrived and managed to get into the car the old-fashioned way. It is scary how with the right tools, you can do that. He wasn’t able to fix the locks though. We would need to go to his shop, which was in Hollywood, so B decided he would just make an appointment with the dealer, which he did as soon as we got home. Of course, we couldn’t drop the car off until Monday. Oh, and both quoted us $250.

The car is now fixed. We dropped it off Monday morning, and got a call that afternoon that we had missed the order cutoff, so the locks wouldn’t be in until Wednesday. We picked up the car last night. We dropped off the rental this morning. I am just glad they were able to fix it such that we don’t have one key for each door and one for the trunk. But I still wish I knew what was going through the heads of the person(s) who did this.

Mostly though I do feel blessed.  This is the second time someone tried to steal our car unsuccessfully. The last time was back in Chicago. The would-be thieves tried to use a tool of some kind to open the driver’s door. The indent the tool made is still there. It does feel like someone is watching over us. I cannot even imagine how traumatic it would have been to return to the parking garage, and not find the car.

on the night stand :: Let’s Go for a Drive by Mo Willems

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