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August 2005 Low Rage 4x4 Thievery Stories

Posted in Project Vehicles on August 1, 2005
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Contributors: Dennis Pierce

My 4x4s morph into SoCal mall crawlers six to eight weeks a year. That's when my wife and I head for San Diego for some R&R. This year, she drove her all-wheel-drive Town & Country and I followed along in my Unlimited. I opted to drive the Jeep since the F-250 is hard to park, and the freeways are so crowded that 45 mph seems fast!

I had actually started writing a column about our trip to New Zealand and Australia in hopes that I could write off a $10,000 cruise, when I decided to go to the marine supply store before they closed. As I walked out to my parking place, I was trying to remember if I had left the passenger-door window open. When I got closer, I found that some cretin used a rock to break the window and steal an XM radio and a GPS. A neighbor heard the glass break and flipped on the lights, and the thief hauled buns before he could steal my checkbook, tools, and other goodies in plain sight.

The cops were on the scene in 12 minutes, and a cop chopper was over the area within 15 minutes. Unfortunately, there were no apprehensions. I immediately called XM and reported the unit stolen so that it is worthless to the person trying to activate the unit. The GPS is an old Garmin unit that is loaded with waypoints in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado and is very difficult to use. Hopefully, the person who buys these stolen items and figures out that they are worthless, will go back and pound the crap out of the guy who stole and sold them!

In order to keep the premiums down on my insurance, I have a $500 deductible on comprehensive and theft. So, replacing the side-door glass ($179), XM Roady ($130), and the Garmin Gecko 101 GPS ($100) came out of my pocket.

Before you think out loud and ask yourself why I didn't use my homeowner's insurance to cover my losses, consider that this is the second smash-and-grab that I've suffered in less than a year. The last one occurred in Goodyear, Arizona, and the BOBs (burglars on bikes) got a suitcase with the 100-year-old family Bible, a Colt .380 with two clips, and 100 rounds of ammo, plus seven grand in heirloom jewelry out of my F-250 Crew Cab. The same homeowner's policy that paid off $3,400 on that incident was in force for the Jeep break-in. The agent suggested that I not push my luck by filing a claim on the latest incident, inasmuch as the loss was under $500.

The glass guy showed up within an hour after I called, and told me that 19 out of every 20 side windows he replaces are the result of smash-and-grab incidents. By the way, a Wrangler window is cheap, compared to an F-250's curved and tinted passenger rear-door window at $480!

In talking to neighbors, it seems that I have joined a non-exclusive club as a smash-and-grab victim. The night before my Jeep was hit, another Wrangler was hit on the next street over, and an Unlimited up the street lost a spare tire. Several nice cruiser bikes have vanished here in the complex.

I see no point in ranting about the lowlife who stole stuff to buy liquor as it's doubtful if he will be reading a current issue of Four Wheeler. However, I feel it's OK to rant about 'wheelers who have no problem buying parts and pieces at prices that would make a man of integrity question the legitimacy of the point of origin of said parts and pieces. So, the next time you buy a 9,000-pound winch still in the box at a swap meet for a hundred bucks, never forget that what goes around, comes around.

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