My Stolen Car Story

Actually I can’t use the word “my” anymore because the car is gone. I was planning to sell it, however, so I had some minor repairs done, put a “for sale” sign in the window and parked it OUTSIDE on the street below my apartment for the first time in months.. On the second night, it disappeared. (Or maybe someone took it for a test drive to Poland?) Anyway, that was December 30th, and I said to myself.. "Just accept that the insurance company will not pay what you could have sold it for, forget it and start the new year off with no car problems..." Fine.

On December 31st, after realising it was gone, I went to the police station. and on arriving I said, “I just called about my car that was stolen.”
Policeman: “Oh the Mercedes? The Ford?”
“No the Renault CLIO Baccara”
All the paperwork was done very slowly. I contacted my insurance company and decided to think about other things. Two days later, January 2, late afternoon. I get a call from the Police,
”We’ve found your car outside of Paris, but you'll have to go identify it, and then go to the police station to file the “car recovered” forms.”
”What state is the car in?” I ask.
“They”ve taken some parts”
“Think I can drive it home?”
“Not sure, they did put a seat in it...”
I stopped asking him questions. He gave me the number of the garage where the car had been taken, and I called the next morning.
“Hi, I’m calling about the Clio Baccara, what condition is it in?”
“Did you have good tires on it?”
“Yes, fairly new, why?”
“They changed those...”
“OK, well I’ll bring my keys, think I can drive it back?”
“They didn’t tell you?”
“They said some parts were gone..”
“Excuse me sir, but it’s a trash can..”

2 hours later I arrive at the yard. Approaching the car, I notice that the lock mechanism on the back-hatch-type-door was gone. And being “Mr Intelligent” I turn to the man and say, “oh that’s how they got inside the car?” He didn’t reply. Didn’t need to. As I wallked around the side I realised there were no locks anywhere, and there was no “inside” of the car either. Seats, door panels, speakers, carpetting...all gone.
“Don’t touch it cause they didn’t take finger prints yet” he says, as he opens the hood.
“Gee, guess they changed the battery too..”
“That’s not your battery?”
“No I just bought a new one...Can I look inside the car? I want to check the odometer.”
I looked, and it said 97,500 kilometers..Three days before it was 83,300. (That’s one heck of a test drive!!) I explained this to the guy and then noticed a second antenna on the roof, and said, “ I don’t think this is my car. I had no second antenna. Can I look in the glove box?”
“OK..careful how you touch it..”
I open the glove box, and what do I find? Three FAKE 20 Euro notes!!! The guy sees this, calls the police, explains that it’s not my car, BUT it had MY license plates on it, and except for the 2nd antenna and the mileage(kilometers driven) it was identical to mine.

Then I spent 2 hours declaring to the police how and why I knew it wasn’t my car, then had to RE-DECLARE it as a stolen car, because the police input “found” into their stolen-car data base. I asked why they just couldn’t input “sorry-false alarm-car STILL stolen” But no. So another policeman typed the form in a computer. You would think they’d have “models” of such forms. making it a quicker and more efficient process. No way. Welcome to Europe and to France. While waiting for him to get it signed or copied or both, I started talking with another policeman about music. He calls another cop over saying, “this American guy had his car stolen, but he’s a drummer like you..” The guy looks at me and says, “What’s your name?” I tell him and he says “I’ve seen your demos for Roland...” Small world.

Meanwhile, the taxi has been waiting all this time as I negotiated a “round-trip” deal with a really friendly, Moroccan taxi driver. On the way back, after he heard the final details, he says, “you’re car is still be driven, it’s a good car.” Yea sure.

Then I remembered when I was living near the Champs Elysses. My indoor parking garage space was directly under the Christian Dior company restaraunt KITCHEN. It didn’t take long for their floor cleaning chemicals which were dripping into the garage, to not only eat the paint on my car, but even the glass of one window. I got them to fix the leak before I had the car repaired. But that took 5 months; fixing the leak that is.... It had to be done twice. By that time the car' roof looked like someone had a fingerpainting party on it, but with acid. A month or so after getting it all repaired AND re-painted, a guy with a Jeep Cherokee in the same garage, smashes my drivers side door (when I was not there of course). And he never admitted it, even though his bumper height matched the dent in the door . I put a note on his car and on others asking about it. No reply from anyone. And it was certainly no matter the police would really look into. So I forgot about it, reported it as vandalism and had it repaired... Soon thereafter I moved to Neuilly, where I live now, and rented another parking space. Nothing special about that except that the door TO the garage wouldn’t open for almost one month. Not helpful. So the story’s getting boring? Wait!

The most important part is the letter I recieved just a few months after BUYING the car in 1995. It was from a local court investigating a stolen car ring. At that time, they informed me that I had just purchased a STOLEN CAR!!!! A lot of paperwork eventually proved them wrong, Or were they??????

(UPDATED) March 15, 2002

The car never was never found, and to my surprise the insurance company sent me a check for almost the same amount I was hoping to get when trying to sell it. The funny thing is that a few days after I got the check, they sent me a bill for this years insurance charges!! Then even during June, they sent me yet another bill! (UPDATE July 1, 2002): The policeman mentioned above, who recognised me, recently came to one of my Roland demos and bought a V-Drums set up...the world got smaller again!)

Stolen Bag Story