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Vancouver Auto Chat 2016 VAC Community Head Moderator: Raid3n

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Old 01-03-2013, 02:28 AM   #1
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Reminder: Lock Your Car Doors

A month or two ago, someone broke into my parents' honda accord, which was parked in our driveway that exits into an alley (not our main street), because my brother had forgotten to lock the door. They rifled through all the cabinets, but in the end only ended up taking an old gps we rarely use. We were fortunate that there was nothing valuable in the car at the time, and have since learned our lesson.

Tonight I was reminded again that, despite being in a relatively safe neighborhood (N. Burnaby), none of us are completely safe from theft. As I was talking on the phone with my girlfriend while sitting in my car, a man turned the street corner and began to walk on the side my car was parked. He was testing the driver side door of each car ahead of me to see if they were unlocked. I laid low and still, waiting for him to reach my car. He was also holding a bottle of liquor, which I presume he was consuming while testing locks.

Upon reaching my car and testing my door handle, and to his amazement it opening, I popped out and yelled at the top of my lungs "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?". He gave me a deer caught in the headlight's expression, stuttered several times, and booked it down the street as fast as he could. Having been in mid conversation with the girlfriend, I did not process quickly enough whether chasing him was worth the risk, and so thought better of it and sat back in my car.

In any sense, giving chase probably wouldn't have been worth the risk since I wouldn't know what to do with him once I had caught him. And calling the non-emergency line for the police to file a report wouldn't help much either as they'd show up several hours too late.

Therefore I am doing the next best thing and providing my fellow automotive enthusiasts this reminder to please ensure your car doors, as well as house doors, are fully and securely locked at all times, regardless of where you park / live. As well, remember not to leave any valuables in your car. If it happened to me, it can most certainly happen to you.

Edit: The description of the said individual: Caucasian, early 20's possibly younger, about 6', wearing a beige/grey hoodie. Spotted in N. Burnaby near Holdom Skytrain area.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanghaiKid View Post

Upon reaching my car and testing my door handle, and to his amazement it opening, I popped out and yelled at the top of my lungs "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?". He gave me a deer caught in the headlight's expression, stuttered several times, and booked it down the street as fast as he could.
This scenario is unintentionally funny when I play it in my head ..
I think giving the non-emergency police line a call would have been appropriate in this situation. They may not show up immediately or at all, but at least they are aware of such thing happening in that area and possibly frequent that area more often.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:49 AM   #3
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And you have a description, maybe not a great one but it could be helpful
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:47 AM   #4
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911 would have been appropriate as it was "in progress"...
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:00 AM   #5
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should have take a picture of video of him doing it...
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:18 AM   #6
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If you ever need immediate Police attendance, you would call 911. And as for chasing the guy, unless you know what you're doing and can properly detain the individual until police arrive you might be causing more danger for him and yourself.

I did a few years in Security and if you chase a person for shoplifting/breaking the law and by chance they get injured or hit by a car in the case, you're the one held liable for his injuries. Canadian law is a little funky .

I would call the non emergency number and give the license plate of the car and let them know what happened. Chances are they've been breaking into cars for a long time, and Police are usually looking for them.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:11 AM   #7
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Does it matter that when you call 911 they'll probably be going/gone before the time you'd be done the phone call?
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:24 PM   #8
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Same thing happened in my neighborhood (Richmond), my sis left my mom's car unlocked, and it was rummaged through by someone. Took the change purse (about 20 or so dollars)

Funny thing is this guy has a routine, in snowy days you can see footprints of the guy going from car to car throughout the whole street testing car doors.

I think a lot of cars have an auto lock feature these days, or you could buy em, so it might be handy for those forgetful drivers.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:41 PM   #9
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Props for scaring the thief at least.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanghaiKid View Post
remember not to leave any valuables in your car
That's the key... locking the doors only prevents the crook from easy entry. If the thief sees something good in your car, it's just a broken window away from being theirs and not yours. Plus you're out for the deductible.

I keep three things in my car.. a photocopy of my insurance papers (along with the originals... but hidden), a map book and my spare tire. And to be honest, I don't even use the map book considering my Blackberry has GPS on it. I don't lock the doors... but I do have a paging alarm (with no siren) so if someone pops the door I'm going to chase their ass down and make them limp home.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:56 PM   #11
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:05 PM   #12
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OP speaks the truth!

Back in elementary school, my grandma left just the passenger door unlocked of our old 90' Accord, resulting in the interior dome light stay on over night. Despite living in a very quiet neighbourhood (Pretty much know everyone in my Complex) in Coquitlam, Someone decided to take all of my elementary school uniforms I just ordered and the insurance papers.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:10 PM   #13
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OP speaks the truth!

Back in elementary school, my grandma left just the passenger door unlocked of our old 90' Accord, resulting in the interior dome light stay on over night. Despite living in a very quiet neighbourhood (Pretty much know everyone in my Complex) in Coquitlam, Someone decided to take all of my elementary school uniforms I just ordered and the insurance papers.
Maybe the guy was just an opportunistic pedophile
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanghaiKid View Post
As I was talking on the phone with my girlfriend while sitting in my car, a man turned the street corner and began to walk on the side my car was parked. He was testing the driver side door of each car ahead of me to see if they were unlocked. I laid low and still, waiting for him to reach my car.
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Does it matter that when you call 911 they'll probably be going/gone before the time you'd be done the phone call?
Had OP called the police before the guy got to his car, the police could have been there in no time.
That guy may or may not be known to the police, which is why OP should have called the police instead of scarring him off and then posting on RS.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:10 PM   #15
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I have a similar story to yours op that happened to my dad last year. My dad works facing out of a window that overlooks his car just a few feet away from him, he usually never locks his car since their nothing worth much inside it and its always just a few feet away from him. So one day he's looking out his shop window to see someone in his driver seat, now without overreacting and jumping towards the thief he proceeds to phone the police then goes outside and shuts his car door on the thief which happens to be rummaging through the stuff inside and locks him in the car, while holding the car door shut he waited for the cops to get there and arrest the guy.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:19 PM   #16
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Also, try not to leave your garage remote in the car, chances are they'll take that and the insurance paper as well!
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:33 PM   #17
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Does it matter that when you call 911 they'll probably be going/gone before the time you'd be done the phone call?
It takes roughly 5-10 minutes depending on location and traffic for police to arrive. Based on my experiences at least. But it's always good to report crimes regardless, because it builds their database of possible locations and hits of criminals and this gives them a better chance to fight back.

I also saw in the news a while back where car thieves would break into your car while you were in the movies, and that would give them a 1 1/2 hour window to break into your car, take your insurance papers and break into your house. So hide those papers or lock them up in your car.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:36 PM   #18
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I used to live on Holdom Ave and Sumas St where you described. Tons of stuff got stolen from my back yard. I had once saw a junkie in my backyard and I chased after him with a bat, then called the police and he was caught just a block away ! As soon as sky train setup the turnstile, it would get better !
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:57 PM   #19
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Yup, I agree, the smart thing to do would've been to call the police at the time. I didn't have much brain power to think about it too thoroughly at the time as it was around 1am when it happened. I was also in the middle of a serious phone conversation with my girlfriend, so didn't think to hang up and start recording.

I believe the guy was on foot, as he probably had just got off the skytrain and was making his way around the block, there didn't seem to be a car waiting for him anywhere and I watched him run into the local elementary school field so it was too dark to see where he went.

I'll make a report to the Burnaby police dept. asap, and the information can somehow help them in the near future. Hopefully, I'll know what to do the next time I find myself in the same situation. Thanks for the insight.

Edit: Just called, they pretty much told me any information I give them at this point is useless and its only important to report it while/soon after the incident occurs. I guess they don't bother otherwise, oh well I tried.

Last edited by ShanghaiKid; 01-04-2013 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:55 AM   #20
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I'm thinking that even if the police were called and happened to be just around the corner and arrived on the scene immediately, very possibly it would have not resulted in anything.

While there is no doubt that the guy would have stolen stuff if he found an unlocked car, I don't think he can be charged with anything just for unsuccessfully trying to open door handles from cars, can he?
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:34 AM   #21
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Legally no...It's like if you see a shoplifting taking groceries and putting it into his backpack or jacket. Legally if you're going to go after him and want to charge him with "theft under $5000", the guy has to physically leave the property until it's officially stealing. The best thing you can do in that case is called 911 and say there's a suspicious individual seen at XXXXhrs at a very specific location, wearing this and that, skin complexion, hair color and style and so on.

Canadian Law is a little funky...When I was undercover security for a bit, I'd have to be VERY sure that person stole the item or I would get a false arrest, and lose my job. Makes it really hard for law enforcement here to do their jobs.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:51 AM   #22
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Legally no...It's like if you see a shoplifting taking groceries and putting it into his backpack or jacket. Legally if you're going to go after him and want to charge him with "theft under $5000", the guy has to physically leave the property until it's officially stealing. The best thing you can do in that case is called 911 and say there's a suspicious individual seen at XXXXhrs at a very specific location, wearing this and that, skin complexion, hair color and style and so on.

Canadian Law is a little funky...When I was undercover security for a bit, I'd have to be VERY sure that person stole the item or I would get a false arrest, and lose my job. Makes it really hard for law enforcement here to do their jobs.
This is true. The guy can't be charged for opening a car door. There is no way you can prove he had the intentions to "steal" anything. If someone tried to pick pocket you, then yes with enough evidence, he can be charged with "attempted" theft. but in this case, there are a lot of loopholes that would cause Crown Counsel not to entertain approving charges for this situation.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:36 PM   #23
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The description of the said individual: Caucasian, early 20's possibly younger, about 6', wearing a beige/grey hoodie. Spotted in N. Burnaby near Holdom Skytrain area.
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