CD theft brings sadness as well as laughter

Tuesday, February 5, 2002

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hkronmueller

Last week I finally heard the words my father has told me at least hundred times per year since I was 16 years old: If you leave your CDs in your car for everyone to see, someone's going to break in and take them.

At 8 a.m. Tuesday I woke to find a police officer standing next to pile of glass which had at once been my car's passenger-side window.

I ran toward him and was greeted with a hearty, "Good morning, ma'am."

I chuckled at the sheer irony of that.

The next several minutes were spent searching through my car to see what the vandals had taken and what they chose to leave behind.

A quick inventory revealed that my CD collection, including all of my Debbie Gibson, New Kids on the Block and Wham CDs, was missing; my CD player was still mounted in the dash -- although it looked like it had taken a severe beating; my coat was still on the front seat; and cellular phone charger was gone.

I also noticed some tampons still in my glove compartment. I guess there isn't much of a resale market for those.

After the officer left, I called my insurance agent.

"The good news is the window is covered," the woman on the other end of the line said. "The bad news is the CDs aren't. Homeowners and car policies no longer cover CDs because, well, people just leave them lying around too much."

"Ow," I thought. "Cheap shot."

Later that afternoon, I made an appointment to get my window fixed the next morning.

The forecast called for rain and dropping temperatures that night, which meant one thing: I was going to have to construct a makeshift window out of plastic and duct tape.

I tried to make the fake window as non-tacky as possible, but I quickly discovered that's virtually impossible to do. Thankfully I only had to drive around with it flapping in the wind for a day.

The next morning, my window was fixed and I began downloading all of the CDs I lost onto my computer.

While my run-in with the CD thief made me sad, it also made me laugh because it caused me to remember the first time my car got broken into.

It was about seven years ago, on my high school parking lot. That time there was no broken glass, so I didn't notice anything on first glance. I went to my car, tossed my book bag into the passenger seat and hopped in.

I stretched my out my arms and legs, but I couldn't reach the wheel or pedals. Obviously someone much taller than I had been sitting in my seat.

I noticed the glove compartment was open, but nothing was missing. That confused me, but I didn't worry because it appeared as if someone had only been sitting in my car.

It wasn't until that night when I was driving home in the dark from swim team practice that I noticed something strange.

My headlights didn't work.

My dad tried replacing them, but when that was unsuccessful we took it to the dealer.

You know there's something strange going on when the auto mechanic starts laughing before he tells you what's wrong with your car.

"Apparently someone tried to hot-wire your car," he said, smiling. "Only they tried to use the wires that connect your headlights, not your engine."

I guess I can be thankful the criminals that go for my cars are dumb. If they were professional thieves, I might have lost a whole car instead of just a window and some CDs.

Heather Kronmueller is a staff writer at the Southeast Missourian.

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