Thursday, October 19, 2006

More Alertness from the Wyandanch Law Enforcement Brigade

So I'm walking across Wyandanch Car Park and Breaker's Yard last night and I see a guy about to get into his car. I also see a car battery propped against his passenger side door in such a way as to be almost touching terminals to paint. Mr Brain (ever vigilant) runs a short video of the battery exploding as the car pulls out and I start waving and halooing and generally raising the alarm.

The driver of the vehicle turns and calls out that he isn't going anywhere as his car interior has been stripped. I walk over. "Stripped" in this case turns out to mean that the steering column cladding has been removed and dumped in the driver's side footwell1. The driver, who looks vaguely familiar turns his key and says "See? Nothing".

I look at the car, Mr Brain pulls up library stock footage of the battery and I ask the driver to turn on his headlights. Nothing.
"Are you sure that's not your battery leaning against your car?" I ask.
"Yes" says the driver. I am not convinced.
"Open the hood a minute" I say and he does, while I search in Mr Briefcase for my CSI flashlight.

The engine compartment is very busy with component and corrugated hoses everywhere I look. The driver pats a large square plastic shape and says "The battery is still here".
I look across and say, "I hope not. That's your air filter" and continue the search. Finally I locate a small rectangular gap with two finger-thick cables dangling loose.
"There's where your battery should be. Shall we put it back in? Do you have any tools?" I say

Perhaps it was the way my whole body shivered and my voice became filled with lust when I said the word "tools", but he backed off and put the car between us and said he didn't, in fact, have any. It might surprise those who are familiar with my writing but I don't routinely carry tools my latest car either. It is the first new car I have ever owned and I am reluctant to start the process that ends in riding around with a trunk full of crap at all times. 'Sides, why else carry Triple-A gold coverage? So, here we were in a Class One unexpected tool deployment opportunity (UTDO) situation and all I had was me Swiss Army knife and some popcorn. I was disgusted.

I lifted the poor sod's battery into place and replaced the "hot" connection so that he could close the hood without triggering a short, welding the battery to the hood and quite possibly setting fire to the vehicle2, and offered to give him a lift or the use of my cell phone to start the process of getting him home. While he was refusing both I caught a glimpse of his new wheels, secured by locking wheel nuts, and Mr Brain flared with recognition.

"Aren't you the bloke who had his wheels nicked only last week?" I asked in a tone of disbelief.
"Yes" he answered.

Some people just can't catch a break.

1: I concede that there may very well have been other damage I did not see
2: As it happens, yes I have seen this done, and no it wasn't me what done it

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