Our Car Got Stolen

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Mobile phone photos by MJ Klein

UPDATE: See the end of this article for photos of the car, cleaned up.

Our Car Got Stolen

One of our cars was taken from in front of our house, in broad daylight, a week ago today.  We got a call yesterday from the police in Yong An that our car had been recovered.  Hui-chen and I went over to take a look at it, and the first thing we noticed was that one of the turn signal housings was hanging from the wire.

Our Car Got Stolen

Our first impressions were bad.  Looking through the passenger-side front window, we saw a bunch of junk in the front seat.  Notice the rope on the floor, and also the weird colored tool bag on the seat.

Our Car Got Stolen

The rear seat was even worse.  There was scrap metal covered in oil, plus a lot of broken material scattered everywhere.  At this point we didn’t dare touch the car as the forensic investigators were on their way to examine the car for clues.

Our Car Got Stolen

Here we see the investigation team starting their work.  These guys were great, coming out on a Sunday, and taking this case very seriously.  They were quite thorough.

Our Car Got Stolen

The trunk was a disaster.  The thief had stolen wire, and then made a fire to burn off the insulation.  He later put this burned-off wire in the trunk, and it was trashed.

Our Car Got Stolen

The thief had also removed the taillights on one side, throwing away the cover (naturally).

Our Car Got Stolen

This investigator is looking for fingerprints.

Our Car Got Stolen

The other investigator looked at every piece of junk in the car that was put there by the thief, including the black electrical tape used to bundle these stolen metal strips.

Our Car Got Stolen

Next, the investigators dusted for fingerprints.

Our Car Got Stolen

Our Car Got Stolen

After digitally photographing a few candidates, they were finished.  Unfortunately the thief wore gloves and didn’t leave many clues behind; he even took his cigarette butts with him (yes, he smoked in our car).  Every single thing that we had in the car was gone, including my Bluetooth headset for my phone, my double lighter plug, change for parking, and of course, my dashcam.

Our Car Got Stolen

The towtruck arrived and prepared to take the car back to our hometown.

Our Car Got Stolen

This is a closeup of the 2 candidate prints.

Our Car Got Stolen

The right front tire was flat.  The thief had apparently hit some stone object (according to eye witnesses who were chasing him for stealing at their construction site) and the tire went flat.  He then abandoned the car and fled on foot.

Our Car Got Stolen

Today, our mechanic took the car and is now going over everything to give us an estimate of what it will take to reverse the damage the thief did to it.  Right off the bat we noticed that the steering wheel is not straight when the wheels are, so it needs a front-end alignment at least.  The mechanic is going to check to see if the impact did any permanent damage to the unibody frame.

Our Car Got Stolen

One thing we know has to be fixed is the ignition keylock.  The thief broke this in order to get the car started.  A kill switch would have prevented this theft.  We are going to have a kill switch installed on our other car, and this one, if we decide to keep it.

Our Car Got Stolen

One last shot to finish out this article.  The police think they will catch this guy and when they do, we can sue him personally for the amount of money he cost us.

UPDATE:

Our Car Got Stolen

Compare this shot with the one above, now that the car is all cleaned up.

Our Car Got Stolen

We had the mechanic install a kill switch to prevent this car from being stolen again.  Of course if someone wants it bad enough they’ll just pull up with a truck and haul it off; but the kill switch makes it harder to steal.

Our Car Got Stolen

The back seat is now nice and clean, and the oil came off, thankfully.

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16 comments

  1. MJ, I detest thieves. Thieves are some of the lowest of scumbags.

    The law should be, once caught the victim can choose a punishment, mine would be putting their balls in a vice and tightening it until they burst.

    It is good to see you have the car back, and hope it can be repaired and not too expensive. The police look to be pretty dilligent there.

    A few years ago when Noot’s motorbike was stolen, policeman at the station said, “won’t find, they take apart and it will be gone over to Laos”

    In Ubon they said at least 6 motorbikes a day are stolen.

    I hope the guys steals some live wires in the near future.
    Brunty´s last post ..Engrish (English) on Thai Products, Thailand.

    1. hi Brunty. i agree that thieves are the dregs of society. we thought our car was gone too (for parts) but the thief wanted it for transportation of stolen goods. i’m with you on the live wires! thanks Brunty.

  2. I am very sorry to learn of your car being stolen. I like the vise idea for punishment. Is crime climbing in Taiwan? Crime is climbing here due to lack of jobs and drug users. We live in a wooded area and several drug arrests have occurred in our area. We make sure we lock the windows now, besides the doors. Two places within 1/4 mile of us have had a vehicle/ jewelry stolen.

    1. hi Carolyn. not sure if crime is climbing in Taiwan. the economy is stable here. this is the first time i’ve been victimized by crime here. you can be sure i’m going to take precautionary measures from now on! thanks.

  3. I don’t know about there in Taiwan… but here… if a 17 year old car (I think you said it was a 1994) was stolen and found in that condition… most people wouldn’t even think about getting it repaired.

    However… with you being in a non-snow environment (like southern Florida)… a 17 year old car there is probably in better condition body wise… floor board wise… and so on compared to a 17 year old car in this area.

    1. Mike, if you have a car that runs and will pass inspection, it’s worth a minimum amount of money. in the US, that would be $1,000. it’s the same everywhere you go. this car runs and it passes inspection. we’ve been diligent about the maintenance and even though it looks rough on the outside, mechanically it is in good condition. even if we want to get rid of it, it’s worth it to get it fixed and sell it, rather than just scrap it. thanks Mike.

    1. thanks Snap. the mechanic has it now and so far it’s looking not too bad. but like you said, i really want the police to catch the culprit so we can sue him for the damages. take care, Snap.

  4. Hope they catch him. We were burgled last spring when we were in Taiwan – I know it’s an awful feeling, quite apart from the monetary loss.

    Best Wishes to you and Hui-chen

    1. thanks Stefan. yes, it’s a bad feeling and it bothers me worse than the money. stuff like my Bluetooth headset is gone – that just ticks me off! take care, Stefan.

    1. hi Carolyn. the only thing that remains is the smell of oil in the car. i put one of those air-vent air fresheners in the car the other day. so when i drive it around, it smells better. i think i’m going to try some charcoal next. thanks and take care.

    1. hi Brunty. actually the car runs a bit better than before because while it was in the shop, the mechanic addressed a couple of small problems (hoses and stuff) that improved the engine response. thanks.

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