Part 1: Loss
Around lunchtime on Saturday I went outside to talk to Martine and noticed something didn’t look right in the driveway. Car… Martine’s scooter… Hey, where’s my scooter?! As they say in Newfoundland, there it was, gone! Somebody had stolen it right out of the driveway.
Friday night, I had gotten stuck in a downpour while crossing the Jacques Cartier bridge, so by the time I got home I was soaked through. Normally, when I park the scooter in the driveway I immediately lock it to a post using a bicycle U-lock and a cable through the front wheel. That night, because I was so wet, I skipped that part, thinking I’d go out and do it later. Unfortunately I forgot. Martine’s scooter, on the other hand, was locked as usual, so the thieves had ignored hers.
After digging around for the registration and insurance info, we called the cops. They said we could wait and someone would come by eventually, or we could just go straight to the cop shop and report it there. We decided on the latter.
We had some stuff to do first, and then there was a thunderstorm, so it was after 5:00 PM before we started getting ready to go to the cop shop. Just then the phone rang. It was the cops.
Part 2: Recovery
Cop: Mr. Hawco?
Cop: (Identifies self.) Did somebody steal your scooter?
Cop: Did you file a report?
Me: We were just going to do that…
Cop: OK, because we have your scooter, and a suspect.
Apparently, around 2:00 PM (before we even phoned it in) the cops saw someone riding a scooter. The rider seemed a bit young, and when he saw the cop looking he stopped the scooter, threw it down, and ran away. The cops chased him for about ten blocks and nabbed him.
He’s 12 years old.
The cop said there was a bit of damage to the plastic body of the scooter but not too bad, and that I’d be able to pick it up in a day or two. Woo hoo! They found my scooter before it was even formally reported stolen! Relieved, we got gussied up and went to a party in town, telling everyone the news.
When got home from the party there was a message from the cops saying the scooter had been released and we could pick it up at our convenience.
Part 3: Screwed Again!
Sunday, around noon, we went over to the cop shop to get the scooter. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to start it, because the thief (or thieves) had busted the key mechanism, leaving a few parts behind in the driveway. So I brought a few tools along, in case I had to hot-wire my own scooter.
The trouble began when the cop advised us that because the scooter had been there since the day before (it was released at 11:20 PM), I had to pay a day’s storage fee. There was also a “towing” fee. $88 altogether.
Oh well, at least I got my scooter back. The cop took us around to the compound, and instead of bringing us to an orange Yamaha BWs with a black carrier on the back, he pointed to a busted-up up blue Yamaha with no carrier. The ignition system was wrecked, the seat was busted, and the entire plastic body was cracked and beaten up and barely attached. Did I mention it was blue?
However, the license plate and the serial number on the frame matched mine. It would appear that my scooter had been sent to a low-budget “chop shop” where they took off the nice orange body — transferred it to another stolen scooter, and slapped some busted up body parts on mine. Then the kid went for a ride and got busted.
The scooter was completely unrecognizable. We explained to the cop that 24 hours earlier this pile of junk was an orange scooter in near mint condition. So instead of releasing it, he told us it had to stay in the compound, because the investigation would have to be expanded. Not that I cared, because I didn’t want to ride that piece of crap anyway.
The worst of it is, my insurance is only for liability — because it was a used scooter I defaulted to my usal “just the basics” mode. There is a small chance that our house insurance might cover some of it, but after the deductible there won’t be much left. It’s basically a write-off, because I would have to replace 100% of the body parts as well as the ignition system, the seat locking mechanism, quite likely the seat itself, and the rear carrier.
The kid is 12 so he won’t even get a slap on the wrist. A wag of the finger maybe. He likely won’t rat out his friends, so they get off scott-free, and the kid’s parents probably won’t even have the decency to contact me and try to set things right.