We were robbed. Well, not exactly robbed. We were “rummaged” recently. Not our house, but the beater car we bought for my son when he went to college.
I called it rummaging, not robbery, because at first glance nothing appeared to be missing from the vehicle. The Rummager was clearly not in need of twenty-sided dice, wrestling shoes, or a mostly empty cup of McDonald’s coffee. I don’t think The Rummager was even that hard up for cash since the door pockets still contained at least five or six dollars in loose change.
I did find a clue: a plastic-tipped slim cigar on the front seat of the car. Dun, dun, DUN! I collected the evidence, and my son drove the rummaged vehicle to work without a second thought.
I, too, was cavalier. After all, I thought, what is the harm? The Rummager did not leave my son’s car looking any messier than it usually is. Nothing was taken. Then I found out there had been a rash of car and garage break-ins in my community. I was advised to report it to the local authorities. When the deputy arrived at the scene, I handed him The Rummager’s calling card, the slim cigar. I was told (duh) to lock the car.
We thought initially that nothing was missing, but later we discovered that the vehicle registration was gone. Still, at first blush, no biggie, right? It’s just a little slip of paper. Except it’s not. With our vehicle registration,
The Rummager can now do the following: obtain a title for our vehicle, steal the car and then sell it, or steal it and use the falsely acquired title to obtain a loan against it in my name. It turns out, there’s a name for this sinister crime: vehicle prowling.
The lessons here? Yes, lock the car. But more importantly, keep a copy of your vehicle registration in your wallet. Leave the real thing secured at home or in a safe-deposit box.
The other lesson? Talk to your neighbors to find out what’s going on in your area. I did, and that’s how I learned that this minor inconvenience could be much more serious. That knowledge prompted me to act, and I hope that I acted in time to prevent The Rummager from taking out a loan in my name—or to prevent an even larger Ocean’s Eight-type caper.
Finally, if someone smoking a cigar tries to tell you they’re Rebecca Regnier, don’t be fooled. It could be The Rummager. My vice is cheap Malbec wine, not cheap cigars.