I have owned two vans in the last five years. I like vans. They hold lots of stuff, I can sleep in the back when on a road trip, and they are fairly cheap to purchase at the auctions. I stopped buying cars at used car lots after discovering the wonders of auctions a few years back, and I have been able to pick up fully functional, inexpensive transportation for far less than I used to.
My first van, an old Hydro van, got me to New Orleans a couple of times, and to the Tom Waits Glitter & Doom concert in St Louis, MO a few years back, not to mention countless shorter trips. My new minivan has also taken me on a few adventures. I have itchy feet, and I love to travel. So, getting a van is really the best way to go for me.
But, the downside of owning a van is that criminals love vans. They are very handy when robbing gas stations, doing Break and Enters, and any other criminal activity they do in my vans. The Hydro van has been stolen three times since I've owned it. And now, my red minivan has been stolen twice. They have not all been stolen from the same location even. The Hydro van was stolen from my old house on Corydon Avenue, then twice in front of my house in the North End. The red minivan was stolen last September from the parking lot at Garden City, then again last night from in front of my house. Yes, my van was just stolen again last night.
It is a red, 1995 Chevy Lumina Minivan, license plate FJA 667.
I didn't have to look for my vehicle registration to get that tidbit of information. I just went to my blog and entered "stolen" into the search box. Yes, this blog as already gotten an entry in it regarding my van being stolen. The last time was September 12, 2010 (see blog entry). I don't get upset anymore, there's no point. In fact, this morning when my husband asked where we left the red van, and said it was no longer there, I just laughed. Of course it isn't there. I guess someone ran out of cigarettes and needed to rob a gas station or something. I followed protocol, I called the police to report it stolen, then called Autopac to start my claim. I'll go to Autopac to fill out the official report tomorrow, and as far as the van goes, I wait. I wait until the police recover it, either at the scene of a crime, or left abandoned on a street somewhere. And I will go to the car rental agency and pick up my "car for the month". I learned after the first theft that autopac offers extra coverage for car thefts. There is zero deductable, and I get a rental car right away. That is definitely the way to go, and how I handle all my autopac insurance these days. This extra coverage only costs a buck or two a month, and well worth the cost.
So, here's the thing. My Hydro van was stolen three times. The first two times the van was stolen, it was returned to me without an immobilizer installed in it. Apparently white Dodge vans are not on the "most wanted" list for immobilizer installation. And I guess, only after being stolen three times, Autopac finally decided it should have an immobilizer. Now the Hydro van is safe on the streets, and hasn't been stolen since. But after being stolen three times our poor Hydro van has so many issues that it is no longer trip worthy. The power steering is messed up and the transmission doesn't work properly. When this information was brought to the attention of Autopac, we were told it was regular wear and tear and nothing to do with the treatment the van received while criminals had custody of it. That's why we got a new vehicle, or another vehicle. Our red minivan came back to us in October feeling a bit off, but running mostly as good as it did previously. No doubt this time when it is returned, it will be just a little further along down the road to destruction, and likely returned without an immobilizer being installed again. Of course, I will ask for one. And of course, I will try to get a van returned to me in the same condition it was when it left. But of course, it will be somewhat less of a van than it was yesterday, and less of a van than it was last September. And I will be told it is all part of the "wear and tear" of an older vehicle as my poor minivan gets assaulted by theives and criminals and used against it's will, as it is returned to me without the protection it needs to make it feel safe.
Every time something happens to us in the North End, be it mattresses dumped in our back lanes, vehicle thefts, bicycles stolen, or whatever, we are returned to our lives just a little less than we were the day before. And we are told it is just regular "wear and tear" on our lives.
If you see my van, let me know.