Grand Theft Auto

It was Tuesday afternoon with clear skies and a stiff wind blowing out of the south. My wife had been shopping for some furniture and accessories to redo the sitting area of our house. She had located a ficus tree at Garden Ridge Pottery but was unable to bring it home in the car. The plan was for us to take our grandson to bible study at church and then from there go to Garden Ridge Pottery to pick up the tree in my truck, take it home and then go out to eat. She had already paid for the plant so it was waiting for us.

Since I don’t shop much, if you say Garden Ridge Pottery, I may hear Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby and Garden Ridge Pottery are in opposite directions. When we left the church, I promptly head toward Hobby Lobby. My wife was on the cell phone so she wasn’t paying attention to the direction of travel. Suddenly she realized that we weren’t getting any closer to Garden Ridge Pottery. “Where are you going?”, she wanted to know. “We are going to pick up the ficus plant”, was my reply. Then it hit me that I wasn’t going in the correct direction. Of course, I threw the blame on my wife for not paying attention to the fact that I was making a mistake. Now we were faced with backtracking and fighting the traffic or going to eat and letting the traffic die down and picking up the ficus plant later. The decision was to eat first.

After eating, we headed for Garden Ridge Pottery. Upon arrival, I was going to park in a parking space and go in with my wife. Since she could see the plant sitting at the front of the store she told me to pull up to the front door and she would go inside. Being the dutiful husband that I am, I followed her instructions. I stayed in the truck while she went inside. A minute or so later, she was waving at me to come inside. I opened the door of the truck and got out with the keys in the ignition and the truck running. That seemed to be okay since I was only going about 20 feet and no one else was around. As I walked to the door, I thought, “maybe I should shut the truck off”. Nope, just going to take a few seconds. As I was entering the store a young man was coming out of the store. He looked like any other funny dressed young person so I gave it no thought.

Upon entering the store, my wife said there was some conflict with the ticket and the way it was written up. I also looked at the ficus tree and said I didn’t think it would fit well in the room. Therefore my wife wanted to look at some other ficus trees, so she told me to park the truck and come back inside. I had only been inside about 5 minutes. When I stepped outside my 2006 GMC truck that I use to tow my fifth wheel with was nowhere in site. What an incredible sinking feeling! It was as bad, if not worse than the feeling I had when I discovered my first fifth wheel was missing about two years ago. The first thing that flashed through my mind was the image of the young man coming out of the store and probably stepping right into the running truck and driving off.

So we called the police to make a report.  One of the local officers came out to take the info and as I sat in the patrol car, it hit me…I have ONSTAR!  I told the officer but he said that ONSTAR would not start tracking until the report was complete and filed.  My wife went into the store to call the insurance company.  While she was talking with the agent, she mentioned that we had ONSTAR in the truck.  The agent immediately called ONSTAR and after verifying that I had an active account they started tracking.  Within five minutes, the police officers dispatch called him and said that they were tracking my truck going into Cleveland, Texas.  Within another 30 minutes or less, the Cleveland police had apprehended the thief and secured my truck.  The truck was unharmed and my wife and I went to Cleveland that night and retrieved the truck.

The thief who took my truck was the young man I passed coming out of the store.  He saw us park in front of the store and just walked outside to see if I had left the keys in the ignition.  He told the police that he needed a ride so he took the truck.

One of the lessons here is to never exit your vehicle and leave the keys in the ignition, even it you are only going 20 feet away.  The number of thieves seems to be growing all the time so do everything that you can to protect your property.  Another lesson is to stick with the original plan.  If I had not gone in the wrong direction, we would have been at the store earlier and the thief might not have been there, or maybe he was just waiting until someone like me showed up.  I was probably the only one that day who would be silly enough to leave the keys in the ignition and leave it running.

Without ONSTAR with the GPS tracking capability, this might have turned out much worse.  I probably would have lost the truck!  ONSTAR told the police exactly where the truck was parked.

ONSTAR is what comes in the GM vehicles but there is another system that has GPS tracking.  That would be Lo jack!  Lo jack is a system that can be installed in any vehicle.  As I have found, having a GPS system pays off.  There was a time when I questioned its value, but never again.

I wrote an article on Trailer Theft that is published on the website.  In that article I talked about some ways to try to protect your camper from being stolen and also how to find it if it is stolen.  I have installed a GPS tracking unit in my camper to help protect and find the camper in the event that it is stolen.  The one that I use is the Mobile Lock but there are other GPS units.  This current event that I have experienced just reinforces what I said in the article and also proves the value of having a GPS locator.



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