Today was the confluence of all my recent legal woes, and the outcome is utterly ridiculous. So let’s start from the top…
Back in November, Lauren’s scooter was tampered with. Someone had broken the plastic around the ignition and (obviously) tried to start it. When I found out about this, I brought it to my landlord’s attention. I reminded him that when we moved in, he told me the garage was “completely safe” and recommended that she park the scooter in the corner. Lauren also told him about it, and he laughed when she asked about security cameras, or fake ones, for the appearance of safety. Less than two weeks later, the scooter was stolen.
We went through all the hoops of reporting a vehicle stolen. We filed a police report, we contacted her insurance company, and we made a claim. We sent Geico our keys and started the long and arduous process of finding her a replacement scooter. Lucky for her, the librarian at her law school is a “scooter lover” and had a scooter she was looking to part with.
So Lauren got a pretty used scooter and a new chain to lock it to a pole in our garage. Less than a week later, we discovered that somebody had again tampered with her scooter, this time breaking one of the bars with the intent of unhooking the chain and stealing the scooter. Again we brought this to our landlord, suggesting he install ANY kind of security system in our garage. He recommended she park the scooter INSIDE our apartment building by the front stairs.
This morning we picked up our mail to discover that she had received a parking citation on the STOLEN SCOOTER. The citation was issued at 470 24th Ave. in San Francisco. (Sidenote: I am including the actual address of the parking ticket because FUCK THEM if they live there. They stole the scooter and if this tiny blog post actually makes a ripple large enough to find it’s way to the asshole who stole her scooter, GOOD. They deserve to have their address known. Also, if you’re missing a scooter, or your scooter is stolen, start there.) So what did we do? We jumped in the car and went over there, hoping it’s still in the neighborhood.
Opening the door to the garage, we discovered that our storage unit had been broken into! Someone had taken BOLT CUTTERS to the chain locking our unit and they stole my propane tank, deep frier and five-gallon cooking pot. There could be more missing from the unit that I haven’t discovered yet. So I called our landlord and enlightened him on the latest invasion of my privacy and the continuing disintegration of my sense of security. Again, the landlord claimed there was nothing he could do other than replace the chain.
We made our way over to 470 24th Ave. and believe it or not, her scooter was there! I shit you not! It had been spray painted white (see the extra paint on the tire?), the logo had been pried off, and all the vin numbers had been scratched off. The ignition switch was broken and the floorboards were pulled up to expose the battery (for starting purposes, I assume), now covered with a plastic bag. The under-the-seat latch was broken and the contents were all gone.
So we called the police and asked them to meet us. We believe that whomever stole the first scooters is the same person or persons who tried to steal her scooter the second time. The officer said he “couldn’t really figure out who took it” but believed it was kids (I doubt it) and the only way they could find who did it is if they found somebody riding it. The only thing he could do is impound it. I offered to stake out the scooter but Lauren declined. Oh, well, at least whoever stole it is going to have to walk now.
When we got back to the apartment, the landlord requested I file a claim with the police department about my storage unit. So around 3 PM, I called the non-emergency number and explained to the operator what had happened. He told me because there was “breaking and entering” this would be classified as a burglary and they would send a unit right over.
With all my momentum toward justice, I decided to call 311 and follow up on my missing iPhone (see “Apple Picking on the Civic Center Muni Platform“). It took over an hour for me to discover that, although my official claim included the statement “I wish for the security footage to be pulled in an attempt to find the person who stole my phone” there is apparently ALSO a little box that needs to be checked in order for the footage to actually be pulled. It turns out that this box was never checked for my complaint, so my footage was never pulled and after 72 hours, the footage was (most likely) gone forever. The supervisor, although very cordial and understanding, told me the only real recourse I have now is to file a complaint against the person who took my report for not checking that fucking box and to relog my initial request to pull the footage. After that, I can file a complaint against the city. Yeah, good luck with all that.
After an hour on the phone with 311, I realized that the police had still not responded to my burglary call, so naturally I followed up. I decided to save all the hypotheticals and just ask if they were actually coming. I was assured they had not forgotten about me and within a few minutes, they arrived. Convenient. It only took five minutes for them to log the claim and then they were gone, because just like the other two times today, there was nothing they could do to help me.
We’ve had our scooter stolen, a second scooter tampered with, my storage unit broken into and my cell phone stolen while I was helping someone with directions. And when I ask for help, from the people whom are supposed to be there to “serve and protect me” (this includes my landlord as well as the MTA) there was nothing anybody could do.
What is the point of asking for help if 99.99% of the time the answer is “sorry, there’s nothing we can do?”