January 28, 2013

TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE

Well the snow has more or less gone.  In the sense that where I cleared it from the drive we now have nice bare tarmac, but we still have piles of snow on the lawn that haven’t melted yet.

Yesterday it reached 8°C and the sun actually felt warm, which was lovely.  This morning however, when I took Nick to the station at 6.30 for his train to London, I had to scrape the ice from the car windscreen again. 

Which reminds me of a cautionary tale.

When one my colleagues arrived at work two weeks ago she announced that her parents had had two cars stolen from in front of their house that morning.

They had cleared the windscreens and left them on the drive with the engines running to warm them up.  Two minutes later they saw both of them disappearing down the road.

One was a Mercedes and the other a Corsa.  They were fairly new and at the moment the insurance company does not feel inclined to pay out.

The police said there is a gang of car thieves who drive around residential areas looking for cars that are left to warm up, unattended.  They arrive in an ordinary looking van which might have several people inside, each one ready to jump out and steal a car.

Their neighbours were able to confirm this as they saw it happen.  The van went past the end of the cul-de-sac, turned round and came back.  This was in a nice, quiet, rural area where there is very little crime. 

I had heard of something like this happening in large towns and cities, but never thought it would happen round here.  Having said that, I have occasionally seen an ordinary looking van cruising slowly down the road at going-to-work time and wondered what they were looking for.  I just assumed it was some workmen looking for a house number, but you never know.

The police have apparently caught the gang, but have yet to find the cars.

UPDATE ON 1st FEBRUARY.

The final decision is that the insurance company will not pay out and would still not have done if even the cars were locked using the second set of keys, because they were left unattended with the keys in the ignition.  They could have been stolen by breaking a window.

I wonder if therefore the auto start would also be uninsured, as someone could break a window and drive the car away.

I think the only safe solution is to bite the bullet and sit in the car while it warms up.

14 comments:

  1. Jean
    Why is it that we have to experience low life that prey on good people - it really depresses me.
    We took our son Andrew to Melbourne airport last week and he returned from our summer to London's winter. We hope he is well.

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    1. Leon, that must be quite a shock for Andrew, from one extreme to the other !!

      Low life can pop up anywhere, it seems, so it's best to be careful.

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  2. The cars are probably abroad... or containered up on a dock somewhere with a load of other cargo and don't appear on the manifest.
    The guys in the van are just the operatives... the brains lives in a nice house somewhere... and keeps his cars garaged just in case... well, he wouldn't give them his address [or real name] would he?
    Sad really how the same old vultures just seem to still hang around!!

    WV seems appropriate...
    ldsetsum 3937
    Ld Set Sum £3937... but I bet they don't get that for stealing the car.

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    1. I feel sorry for the victims and while I was busy thinking it was a daft thing to do - to leave them unattended with the engines running - I then remembered we have occasionally done the same when in a hurry - going back indoors to finish our breakfast, working on the principle that we live in a nice quiet rural area where there is hardly any crime. We certainly won't do it again !!

      On the other hand, I remember when Weldom's delivered our cooker and dishwasher in Le Grand-Pressigny. The young man arrived by himself, left the van parked on the hill with the doors open for over an hour and nobody stole his tools - or even complained about him blocking the road !!

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  3. That's why it's good to have both sets of car keys available ( at least we are given a set when we purchase cars in Canada). They come very handy in situations when you need to warm up the car . Start the engine with one and lock the car with the other one. Or have an automatic starter installed so that you can start the car from inside the house w/o unlocking the doors ( automatic starter is not effective where temp. falls below -15C but I believe that's not a problem in the UK)

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    1. That's a great idea, why didn't I think of it !!
      We always get two sets of keys so I will fish the spare ones out straight away.
      The lowest temperature I personally recall here was -9°C, which was pretty cold for us. This winter it has not yet gone below -7.

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  4. It's hard to believe that there is absolutely no vestige of winter weather anywhere around here. Considering that I was afraid to leave the house on Friday for fear of breaking my neck on the ice, today it's raining and almost springlike!

    Goodness -- it's shocking enough to lose one car that way, never mind two! The automatic starter sounds a great thing as does having two sets of keys...

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  5. That happened around the Oxford area, we were warned of it a couple of years back. I used to go and sit in the car until Nigel was ready, heating it up for him with all my winter woollies on!! Thank goodness those days have now ended! Keep well Diane

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  6. Unbelievable! Having grown up in New York, I was taught not only to never leave keys in the car, but to never even leave loose change in plain sight with the car doors locked. However, when I lived in the country (i.e., rural) or suburbs, we never thought twice about doing what your colleague's parents did.

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  7. This happened to a neighbour last year in our road. It is a small village [but he had a very swish car] He'd done the 'engine on, warm up' thing and gone back into the house to get something...car gone...

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  8. I love this: "The insurance company does not feel inclined to pay out." Kind of sums up the insurance industry, eh? At least my memory of it in the US. We've had very good experience with insurance here in France. Imagine the insurance company's attitude if you, as a customer, did not feel inclined to pay in?

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    1. Walt, I don't think it's possible to buy insurance on those terms - the discretion is all on the company's side, not the customer's !!

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  9. Oh what bad luck. We have to walk through a patch of mud to get to our car so tend to sit in it while it heats up, which would seem the best way to cope with a cold car judging by your post and the comments you have had. Hope the insurance company pays out.

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  10. I'm glad you haven't had any untoward events. And I hope the weather says as warm as you need it.

    Blessings and Bear hugs.

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