Monday, September 29, 2008

Somewhere My PDA Alarm is Ringing

It’s is 7 AM and somewhere the wake-up alarm on my stolen PalmOne is peeping loudly. I hope it disturbs the thief who boldly slung my purse over his shoulder and made a getaway with his accomplice in a beat-up old blue car. I hope he fumbles to find the clear button or accidentally hits snooze and it peeps again five minutes later disturbing his sleep. This is the minimal level of pain I wish on this fellow. You can imagine my private thoughts. They are not very nice.

This guy does not deserve nice. He carried out his crime in front of my very eyes. I could see from the beach cove that he opened my car door, reached inside, and slung my Coach purse over his shoulder. When Ed yelled and started running up the embankment toward the car, the guy smugly smiled and sped off down Oregon’s Highway 101. They had a head start but Ed valiantly tried to catch up to them by racing our Toyota along this coastal highway. He was unsuccessful and concluded that the thieves probably scooted onto an obscure side road.

We stopped our chase after about 12 miles at the Twin Lakes Store, a place where Ed’s cell phone finally rang through to 911. The dispatcher answered the call in Eugene, Oregon. He basically listened to Ed, filed a report and gave Ed a phone number for the Oregon State Police. I used the payphone outside the store to call to report my VISA card stolen; after talking to police, Ed called American Express.

I started calculating my loss – Hobo Coach purse, Coach wallet, Coach key chain, PalmOne, Olympus Camera, LG Verizon phone, Clinique lipstick, credit cards, check book, business cards, and $1.85 in cash – total value at minimum $1,000. This high amount was a startling revelation to me.

I had a crying spell that night after taking care of business – putting a fraud alert on my credit report through Experian and changing passwords for financial accounts. I sobbed when my kids called on Sunday morning and I recounted the event of the previous day. A while back Chris had fishing gear stolen from his truck; in high school, a girl stole Suzie’s Tommy Hilfiger purse. They knew what it feels like to be victimized by a thief. Ed commented that if the thieves saw how sad they had made me feel that perhaps they’d feel bad. Cruelty is the only way to describe the act of carrying out a crime in view of the victim, helpless is how I felt by not being able to stop the action.

This theft happened because Ed and I got sucked into the beauty of the Oregon Coast. We parked on a remote pull-off to enjoy the scenery. We wandered away from the car. We lingered among the rocks and driftwood visible at low tide. I had too many valuables in the car, in a small easy to grab-it-all purse.

Was this preventable? Maybe. Random? Of course. Is this a known area where thieves prey? Broken window glass on the ground and a posted warning sign give clues that others have been victimized here in a place too beautiful to wear such an ugly scar.

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