by Maeve O’Brien, ’16

It was just a regular morning. I left my house, keys in hand, only to discover that my car was not in its usual driveway spot. Not a big deal, I thought. Someone could have parked it in the garage, or maybe my father needed to take it to work.

Both of these possibilities were squandered when I found neither my car, nor my father’s, in the garage. I ran inside, mentally reviewing all the possible places my car could be. Did I leave it at a friend’s house? Did I accidently park it down on the street? Is it at the school? I was concocting pretty desperate scenarios. After a few minutes of frantic disbelief, my mother called the police.

My car had been stolen out of my driveway in the middle of the night. This seemed incomprehensible to me, because I didn’t know that even happened in my neighborhood. I thought I had locked my car, and I presumed that the robbers didn’t coincidentally have a key. It made no sense to me, but it still happened.

I had carelessly assumed I was invincible from these incidents, as I didn’t know anyone who had their car stolen in Upper Arlington. I had heard of the occasional car being taken on the news, but I regarded those as freak incidents.

Turns out, my car was about the tenth one stolen in UA that month, so I wasn’t alone.

When the police officer showed up to write the report, he told us that there had been frequent accounts of heroin addicts from other parts of Columbus getting dropped off in UA, and roaming the streets at night. The robbers would try all the cars to see which ones were unlocked, and rummage through them for valuable items. If the robbers found a way to take the car home, they would try to.

That explanation seemed bizarre to me, so I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. Yet, with the frequency of cars stolen in UA, the officer’s description rang true.

About five weeks later, my car was found illegally parked on 6th Ave, left within a three-mile radius of my house. By that point, it already belonged to my insurance company, so I did not get it back.

From now on, I will always check that my car is locked. Maybe even double check. Or triple. I guess it’s better to be paranoid than robbed.

Please, let my story be a cautionary tale to you.  You may think that leaving your car unlocked is inconsequential, because most of the time it is. But who knows, you may be the special exception, like me. Save yourself the trouble.