Mobile phone photos by MJ Klein
UPDATE: See the end of this article for photos of the car, cleaned up.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The thief had also removed the taillights on one side, throwing away the cover (naturally).
This investigator is looking for fingerprints.
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.
Next, the investigators dusted for fingerprints.
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.
The towtruck arrived and prepared to take the car back to our hometown.
This is a closeup of the 2 candidate prints.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Compare this shot with the one above, now that the car is all cleaned up.
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.
The back seat is now nice and clean, and the oil came off, thankfully.
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Articles in series Hukou:
- Monsters Across The Street
- Gasoline Theft
- One Nasty Storm
- Taiwan Sky After the Typhoon
- Typhoon Fever!
- Typhoon Sky
- Up On The Roof
- Thai Jam
- Hukou Monday Night Market
- Approaching Typhoon Krosa Dumps Rain on Taiwan
- Typhoon Krosa: We Got Lucky
- Krosa Video
- Post Typhoon Grill Party
- Laohukou Revisited
- Dutch Oven Saturday
- The Tea Master of Hukou
- Hukou’s Monday Night Market
- The New Hukou Monday Night Market
- Lunch After Class
- Our Car Got Stolen
- The End of an Era: Xiao-hui’s Is Gone!
- Hit By A Bus