I haven’t heard of anyone having their car stereo stolen in a long time; it seems like a car crime of the past. However, I know of one person who had their airbags stolen, and this gives credence to the news I heard that car airbag theft is on the up. The figures are not inflated, if you’ll forgive the pun, and people are facing the cost of a replacement. I’ve been told a pillow strapped to the dashboard is not an appropriate substitute, so that idea is out the window, along with the pillow.
You’d wonder sometimes what motivates criminals to steal particular items from cars. I presume there’s an illegal trade in airbags, or else there’s someone out there with a very unusual fetish for vehicle safety devices. Particularly despicable are the crooks who – if they can’t extract the stereo or airbag - take whatever they find lying loose around the car. I used to own a Renault 5 (remember them?) and its security system was quite elaborate. I had a sign saying ‘Engine Won’t Start’ on the dashboard. It only let me down once. I had parked my car overnight in a part of Dublin generally acknowledged as not being very safe, if that’s the politically correct way of putting it. The lock on the driver’s door wasn’t very secure. You know the cars in The Flintstones? That’s the level of sophistication we’re talking about. In fact, the vehicle was propelled by sticking one’s legs through a hole in the floor and running along like a fool. On the night in question, the car was easily broken into and some kindly fellow had ransacked the glove compartment (there were gloves everywhere) and rummaged through my CD collection. To my utter disgust, the thief had rejected some of the music! I found this act more upsetting than having the car broken into in the first place; my music taste had been called into question by a petty larcenist! I mean, Now That’s What I Call Panpipes Vol. 12 is a classic and I won’t hear otherwise. And anyone who doesn’t enjoy Denmark’s Greatest Eurovision Entries is a complete philistine. Sadly, I have never been able to replace Sounds of the Atlantic Whales Vol. 3. The only comfort of its loss is the knowledge that some reprobate out there is enjoying the mystical, magical sounds of the humpback.
He or she also relieved me of some clothing. I foolishly left some items visible on the back seat. There was a trendy baseball cap, an equally trendy zip-up hooded top and a pair of sunglasses. Prescription sunglasses. Now of all the utterly useless things to steal from someone, prescription sunglasses have to be the most worthless. At any one time, only one person in the world has use for them. There was some solace to be had with the thought of some (coolly-dressed) miscreant wearing my shades and stumbling around bumping into lampposts. He, or she, was probably wondering why their vision had gone all funny. They may even have executed that classic comedic motif of doing a double-take at the bottle of booze in their hand and then throwing it away. Although, considering their prejudice towards some of my CDs I could argue that at least they didn’t leave the jacket or cap behind. That would have been an even bigger affront: some no-good thinking my clothes were shabby.
The Renault 5 had no airbags (remember we’re talking Flintstones technology here) but it did have some bags-for-life. The robber left them behind too. Tesco’s own-brand not good for enough you, is that it? Turn your nose up at Super Valu bags would you? It’s distressing to have your car broken into but even more so when the thieves start getting snobby about what to steal. Some day you may find your car door open with the airbag lying on the ground, rejected and cast aside. It probably wasn’t cool enough.
Well to heck with those criminals and their stuck-up attitudes. It might sound crazy but I’m going to put my entire CD collection, and all my clothes, into my car and leave it unlocked overnight. It’ll be worth having no possessions in order to win the style approval of these offenders. I do hope they’re a bit more charitable towards my Music of the Panpipes collection this time.