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OMG: My Car Came Back! June 16, 2009

The whole story is funny, actually. Megan, a dispatcher in San Leandro and old pal, heard the plate her coworker was running and thought, Oh, that has to be Rachael. (YARNAGO) So she emailed me and called me and told me to get over to San Leandro because the car looked drivable.

I met the officer there. The suspect had parked it in a random stall (the person who normally parked there called to complain her spot was occupied). They'd forced the lock and tumblers, so the car had been left with the radio on, so the battery was dead, but that just took a jump. I managed to re-tumble the tumblers (I know that's not right but that's what it felt like) so instead of just being able to fit the tip of my key in, it all went all the way in, and the ignition now appears fine.

Funniest part? Oh, there are so many.

1. There is more gas in it than I left.
2. They only changed one radio preset. They didn't appreciate NPR, I guess.
3. They only stole my parking change.
4. They left behind:
     a. A really nice Humvee brand pair of binoculars.
     b. Thirty Watchtower magazines
     c. A Blackberry car charger (WHICH I
         HAVE BEEN NEEDING! Dude!)
     d. Nice iPod headphones (although until I
        douse with rubbing alcohol, I am too
        skeeved out to use)

And everything that I normally leave in the car is still there, those little things that don't matter much but you miss when they're gone: My only pair of sunglasses, the throwing thing that tosses Clara's tennis balls, my Thomas guide (archaic now that we have google maps on our phones but I still love mine), my pens, my lip balm.

I am so relieved. It was only worth about $2,000, and I knew we weren't going to be able to find anything reliable for that price.


(Also: 30 Watchtowers? WTF?)


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Dude, what's up with San Leandro? I had some friends whose car got stolen in Oakland recently, and I think theirs was recovered there as well. Craziness.

Watchtowers? Ya gotta watch out for those Jay Dubyas for sure. Glad they found your car. I hope you don't find any other mysterious items in there!

That's the most bizarre yet wonderful story. Your car was swiped by Jehovah's Witnesses? (That's the Watchtower, right? I get confused.) Who were using the binoculars to... well, I can only imagine they were witnessing SOMETHING from afar.


But I am SO HAPPY you have your car back.

(I swear in the name of all that is holy, this would only happen to you.)

holy crap! I can't believe it came back, with bonus items! Seriously, it's good karma for all the awesomeness you put out into the world. :)


OMG. That is freaking HILARIOUS! I am SO glad you got the car back. Most excellent!

Yay, free gas! Dude, too funny.

I would still recommend new lip balm, though. Because, ew.

I'm so happy the car is back. And so confused by the Watchtowers. Weirdness.

I hope insurance pays for a nice tune up and bath for the car.

karma has turned in your favor and paid you back with interest! um, an the watch towers, uh, okay. if only your little car could tell you some stories about where it's been!

So you're saying a reasonably honest, techy Jehovah's Witness stole your car???

I'd throw out the lip balm.

Yeah...the 30 Watchtowers were going to be my first question (at first I didn't realized that the perps had left them. I thought they were yours)!

But way to go! I'm so glad it wasn't trashed! 'Round these parts, a stolen car is either in pieces or across the border before you can say, "Yarnagogo."

Sweet! And I'm seriously impressed that you can retumble tumblers.

Best story evaaarrrrr!!!! Except for "Digit Lives" of course!!!!!


Funnnny! I, too, am kind of creeped out by the Watchtowers...

Your life is getting stranger by the minute, my friend.

whoa. You couldn't make this stuff up! So glad it came back, and as a bonus, you now have some extra reading material!

Yippee! and huh? My car gets fried and you get nice stack of reading material along with gas for your troubles..LMAO!

Weird but a good ending, could it have been some kind of a prank? New lip balm is in order and a good scrub. The blackberry car charger is nice though. Glad it's back!

Hurray! So glad you got your car back. As for the Watchtowers, well, the 10 Commandments don't actually specify 'thou shalt not receive stolen property', so they probably thought the car was kosher.

Back away from the lip balm.

ewww on the lip gloss... first thought at reading it was still in the car....

Here is what I'm thinking, the "perps" use the watchtower ruse to get into a neighborhood and scope out stuff to swipe... Cause people with reglious tracts wouldn't be stealing right.... then they rob ya blind, hear me? rob ya blind.

Wow, Rachel, that's fantastic luck! I just love that the thief was thoughtful enough to fill up the gas tank for you.

Yay! So glad you got it back! I know what a major bummer it is when your vehicle gets stolen. My truck was taken in LV--it's pretty unique looking, with a big steel bumper and winch and a snorkel (you know, for off-roading in the desert). I figured it would end up a hunk of burned out metal in the desert--but turns out it was in the neighborhood across the street for ten days in front of someone's house (!) with the doors wide open. They only reported it because they were tired of looking at it in front of their house. Anyway, I didn't realize how attached I was to that truck until it was gone for ten days.

We had lots of family adventures, and I was seriously pissed off because whoever had taken the truck had taken away our chance to make more memories in it. But I got it back (although not with more gas in it!) along with a total "manager's package" from Gordon Biercsch--apparently they'd broken into someone else's car thinking they'd get a computer or something and all they got were chain restaurant manager binders and some measuring spoons.

So congrats on getting back the Yarnago! I know what a relief it is.

See, you can't make stories like this up! 30 Watchtowers? Binoculars? Headphones?

SO strange. But awesome! Glad it turned out well for you.

Yay! So glad you got your car back. The stash of left behind Watchtowers is hysterical...

Wow! Congrats on getting your car and all those little things back. I'm so glad it was left in good shape--plus, Blackberry car charger! Bonus!

Just curious about those Watchtowers. Were they all the same, like they were using your car to distribute them, or was it a personal collection?

this made my day!!! so happy you got your car back and 30 Watchtowers to boot? score! (tee hee!)

Wonderful story and so mesmerizing! You could start plotting your third novel immediately. Why? ;)


Perhaps this is their way of trying to convert you?
Great news though!

No, no, you have it wrong. They DIDN'T steal it. They thought it was theirs and were so embarassed when they realized they'd gotten into someone else's car that they freaked and left if far, far, away. You should have looked around your general area for your car's clone. Of course, the Witness folks do tend to wander over vast areas, there's no telling where their real car is...

That is the best stolen car story EVAR.

OMG--maybe they are trying to convert you and that's what the freebies are for??? :) Glad your car is back relatively unscathed.

Extra gas and watchtowers. Too freakin' funny.

That's amazing! (Yay!)

Girl, you have GOT to work this into a book somehow, some way. It's just too damned good to waste on reality...I mean, could any of us have made this up???
BIG hugs on getting babywagon back.

Maybe they were using the Watchtowers as part of a disguise when casing places and using the binocs to check out things from a distance. Blackberries were used to keep in touch -- I wouldn't answer the door to any JWitnesses. Not that you would anyway. Umm & I'd wipe down everything inside the car.

Watchtowers? Seriously wierd. Glad it came back, though.

So your luck has returned?! You got more back than you put in the car and just think of how many doors you can knock on with a stack of 30 Watchtowers!!! That'll keep you busy for quite a while.

And maybe you'll get some novel fodder out of this whole mess? LOL

Watchtowers. Wow.

I once had my car broken into in a college-district part of town, which resulted in nothing being taken but a bag of 8-track tapes. They left the Pioneer speakers, the $40 in rolled quarters (laundry money, HELLO), the under-dash 8-track player, a garment bag with a $200 dress in it, and a carton of smokes. All they wanted was my Bay City Rollers, I guess.

Awesome!! The same thing happened to me about 6 years ago. The best feeling, yay friends in law enforcement!

That is wonderful to hear, and funny as hell. Thanks for sharing. :)

That is super-awesome. My car was stolen twice and I had no such luck.

That's crazy! I can't believe you got your car back. You might want to see about getting the locks changed, though.

It sounds like you have the makings for a really good mystery story there.

Wow. That is hilarious and lucky, and it seems you made out on the whole thing. Also, I can't help but note how the car came back faster than Digit! That somehow seems backwards.

What?! That is freaking weird. Maybe your insurance will pay for a thorough detailing. At least they seem to have taken some care with the auto. Lucky girl!

Holy Crap that's just crazy! so happy you've got your car back! Really Amazing!!

Your car gets stolen, but is found with new useful stuff. Your cat comes back from the dead. I think you should start selling people a chance to pat your belly for luck.

Hilarious! You should remove the loot in case they come back for it. Except for the Watchtowers maybe. WTF?

AWESOME! So glad to hear you got her back with bonuses!

Yup! Karma.
If you're not going to use the headphones....send 'em on!!!
That is such a crazy story. I love how my faith in the human condition was initially dashed by stealing of the car, then restored by the naivete of not stripping you of every last intimate bit.
I had my car opened (not really broken into, because in Iowa we often leave our doors unlocked), and it was so pathetic and heartbreaking to have my jar of parking change stolen.

That tops the bag of door stoppers than my xMIL got in her returned from the stolen car. Oh, and no gas. And cigarette butts in the ash tray...

That is so funny! Glad you got it back. Can you have it all sterilised, though. I mean, those low-lifes have been been sitting in there and breathing and everything... Ewww!


You have more interesting crimes perpetrated against you than do I. I'm glad it all worked out.

Plus more gas? And Watchtowers? WTF? Maybe this was some sort of JW Random Act of Bizarreness.

So, when Digit came back, did he come back religious at all? Just wondering.

yay you!
probably just stupid kids. glad you got it back mostly intact.
i remember that skeeved out feeling when my daughter's car was stolen. i felt so violated!
nothing a bit of lysol can't fix, and maybe a roadtrip!

I guess it is against the JW's religion to celebrate birthdays and holidays, but not the steal cars.

so a jehovahs witness stole your car? that's not very christian of them.

i'm glad you got it back!

I would also like to know if the Watchtowers were 30 copies of the same or 30 different issues. The work of a forgetful convert, perhaps? A Jehovah's Witness who keeps forgetting they have had a spiritual awakening and should stop stealing cars? Or someone taken in by JHW and just got told, "ummm, we're not supposed to steal cars..."
Too funny and freaky and full of creative scenarios!

Excellent potential material and Lala can use the WTs for mulch in the garden - all that strangeness should really beat down the weeds!

This is one of the best endings to a story that I have heard in ages!! Unbelievable. Does this kind of thing happen to you often? If so, please write a book. I'd buy it.

you gotta use that in a book.

WOW! That's awesome. Such a story. Glad to hear that having such a distinct plate (and car) helped you get it back!

congrats! that is so amazing- my car was stolen for about a month - it was found by hayward pd- it was trashed but i got most of it fixed and every once and awhile i get a check for $90 from the woman who stole it!

Great news about the car - and WTF kind of thieves did you get?!?

Well, you know JWs have a witnessing quota to meet, so they probably just borrowed your car for a bit so they could loiter in front of a supermarket or something.

First Digit, now the car? You have the most bizarre loss-regain karma I've ever heard of. (Glad you got it back, plus added goodies!)

Shred the Watchtowers, use as cat litter...

My friend had her car stolen years ago. They threw out her soccer clothes and hung air fresheners all around the car. She was insulted. :) But your story is even better.

Totally weird! I felt so sad for you when someone stole it right out of your driveway while you were sick. That rocks that it is found and came with some bonuses. ;-)

I JUST PREORDERED THE BOOK! WOO HOO!!!!!!! Oh yeah, glad the car is back

Holy crap, that's the funniest thing I've heard all day!!!

Maybe there's some JW version of rumspringa and the kids decided to find out what it felt like to steal a car while they were supposed to be going door to door? ;)

That's strange. Wonderful! But strange. How do you get your car back with more then it left with? Amateurs.

Too many stolen car stories. My favorite is the time my boyfriend's car was stolen. He and his dad found it a few days later. They got out, told the kids standing around it that it was their car, (no it's not! Yes it is!) and drove off with it. Bonus new bottle opener on the key chain. Helps that they were (and probably still are if I still knew them) very large men.

Ok, so either the car was stolen by wayward Jehovah's Witnesses or the culprits ALSO mugged a Jehovah's Witness thinking the pamphlets were a bonus? COMPLETELY BIZARRE.

But at least they left you with an array of parting gifts, lol.

I guess the whole recovery thing is more common than I would have thought. Lena's car got stolen in SF about 7 years ago and we got it back. They had tossed out the ashtray (?) and left a pair of high-end sneakers in the back seat. Oh and half a case of beer.

Holy crap, WTFBBQ!

That is the weirdest thing ever. What do you think your car did and saw on it's adventure?

I would second what a lot of commenters have said and toss the lip balm. And prolly the headphones too.

I realize it's an older car, but have you thought about what you might do to prevent this from happening in the future?

Man, that is just so bizarre. Who loads up their stolen car with stuff and then leaves it somewhere where it's going to get found and towed?

I've figured it out.

They are SERIOUS evangelists.

They steal your car, making you depressed, alternately cursing and doubting God, then they return it, almost better than new, with a slight religious tint, and WHAMMO! Instant conversion. Suddenly you're passing out their Watchtowers for them.

I bet they do this in a different neighborhood every day.

Those Watchtower people are surely NOT GOING TO HEAVEN (which is apparently all they live for) so there you go, payback.

I learned today that when they come to your door and you are rude they get bonus points for going to heaven. Yup. So now I will just ignore them rather than give them a sickly excuse "My baby is in the bathtub, cannot talk!" Or the ' get the f*** off my property as I would love to have the courage to give :) You know, if I was a bitch with courage.

Anyway, so happy you got your car back with bonuses!

so odd. why park in someone else's spot when it looks like you were planning to come back?

ooh I had completely missed this, was just about to send you a message to hear whether you heard anything about it yet. I say this is a book waiting to be written :-)

What wonderful luck - and a great story! Did they stake out the parking spot and catch the thief(ves)?

i might offer to let someone temporarily steal my car if it meant i'd have a story like that to tell afterwards. most excellent.

This is the best outcome ever! Strange visual of a Jehovah's Witness doing some peeping tom stuffs and checking on work email, though.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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