Monday, January 9, 2012

Hiking on Hold

I had every intention of completing a hike on Sunday morning with the defunct co-founder of this blog, Matt.  We even planned a really super nature-y one out in Virginia.  Alas, the delinquents of DC had other plans for us, as Matt's car was stolen about a block from my apartment last Thursday night while said hike was being planned.  *Gasp*  It has now been stolen twice, yes twice, in the last 5 months.

Matt's car was also stolen from his neighborhood (Eastern Market) back in August, the weekend of the hurricane.  His car was not as easily retrieved that time - it was a month-long debacle that even now hasn't been cleared completely.  That episode put a serious damper on our hikes since I was relying on the ol' (and I do mean old) Dodge to get us to hikes that were less metro-accessible, in VA and MD.  DC has this really nice knack for being completely useless when their citizens actually need help - like retrieving a stolen car.  The story, told to me by Matt, goes something like this:

The weekend of the hurricane, Matt's car went missing.  He assumed that it had been towed because storms in DC bring in a whole new set of "Emergency Route" parking restrictions.  After making the appropriate round of phone calls, it was concluded that in fact, the car had been stolen.  Which sucks.  I've lost many a phone, wallet, camera, and purse in my day and my experience with other police departments is that they don't look too hard to retrieve certain things.  So imagine our surprise when an anonymous informant called the DCPD to tell them a car was parked on his lawn.  Weird.  Matt was alerted (though not before the car got a bunch of parking tickets) that his car had been found - but somehow in the bureaucratic mix, his license plate numbers were transposed so the DCPD insisted that actually, they didn't have his car - they had a car that matched the beater's description, with New York plates and a VERY similar plate number, but whoops, that can't be it, our bad.  Government.  I know.

Weeks later he finally convinced them it was his and he was able to get the car back, sans radio.  But - he had to pay the impound fee and still owes hundreds in tickets that were racked up in illegal parking and, oh yeah, parking it on someone's lawn.  Lightening struck twice last Thursday.  The car was stolen, parked later, illegally, in front of a fire hydrant and then towed.  $200 later, he got it back.  Thank goodness the new radio had not been installed yet.

Is it me, or does it seem like Matt is paying the city of DC to have his car stolen and destroyed?  It seems like there is something very wrong with a system that penalizes the victim of crimes and not the criminal.  And as a result, instead of adding a hike to my blog, I'm adding this rant.  And a message to the thieves: The fees incurred have already well surpassed what the car is worth.  Next time, keep it.

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