Somebody stole our minivan!

I shit you not. Here’s the story:

We have (or perhaps “had”– more on that below…) a 98 Plymouth Voyager minivan. It’s purple– I think the official color name is “lavender” or “lilac;” anyway, it’s a light purplish color. For two or three years, it was our only vehicle; actually, we bought it to replace a Honda Civic hatchback we had that was totaled in a parking lot flood. That’s another long story.

Anyway, I got up this morning, and, still in my half-asleep/pre-coffee haze, I looked out the window onto the street in front of our house, and it took me a moment to register the fact that the van was gone. At first, I thought to myself “well, maybe Annette went out to get some coffee or doughnuts or something,” but then I as quickly realized that she wouldn’t have just left without telling me. So I called out “Annette?” and I heard her from the back room “What?” “Where’s the van?” I asked. And we realized that it was really gone.

So we called the cops, they asked us routine questions over the phone about it possibly being towed, etc., and then they sent someone out. When the cop came out, I met her on the curb and she pointed out to me that there were still wet tire tracks on the pavement, leading from muddy water on the curb and then turning left at the corner. That means somebody took this thing just a few hours before. The cop took down all the relevant info and she said that the thieves were probably just looking for a ride and something to party in.

What blows me away about all this is that a) the van isn’t exactly a “desirable” vehicle; b) it was locked up (I always lock the car) and they must have gotten into the thing without breaking a window because there was no glass on the street; and c) my neighbor has a real nice Ford Mustang convertible parked out on the street. And these knuckleheads take a crappy minivan!?

What happens next? Well, the cop more or less suggested three different scenarios: a) they might find it pretty quickly, just someplace on the other side of Ypsi or something, with no real damage; b) they find it in the next few days, anywhere between here and Detroit, and it’s pretty much trashed;) or c) they never find it. “B” is the most likely choice. Fortunately, we never got around to changing the insurance status so we still have “full coverage” on it, which means that we’ll get money for either “B” or “C.” Well, we assume… that’s a bridge we’ll cross when we get to it.

I’m not happy about this of course because even though I’ve always had a “hate/well, it’s okay I guess” relationship with this thing, it’s gonna be a pain in the ass to deal with this and it’s going to cost us a chunk of money.

And besides that, I had kind of settled into my “it’s okay I guess” feelings about the van. For the first couple years, when it was our only vehicle and we were putting lots and lots of miles on it, it ran like crap. We ended up dumping a lot of money into it for dumb things. We had to replace the air conditioning system, we had a lot of other minor and miscellaneous things that had to be repaired, typical used car stuff. Actually, I think a lot of the problem had to do with the Dodge dealerships where we were taking it. But since we got our other car (a Honda Civic, which we like a whole bunch), we don’t drive the van near as much. Last year, I think we put a total of 5,000 miles on it. And the van also started running a whole lot better once we started taking it to a local mechanic, which is a lesson to learn regarding at least some dealerships mechanics.

Anyway, while this sucks, it could be a lot worse. Annette and I will frequently leave piles of books and student papers and such in the car for one reason or another, but neither of us had anything too significant in the van. They didn’t take the Honda– probably because it would have been harder to steal. Nobody here was hurt, though it is a bit unnerving that someone stole a car from the street right in front of my house.

So we’ll see what happens. In the mean-time, if you see a light-purplish van with a bunch of left-wing bumper-stickers on the back, drop me an email….

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