David shares how thieves recently tried to smash and grab his luggage from his car while he was still inside it. He then explores property crime trends, whether they are increasing or decreasing, and why.
Topics covered include:
- How thieves have stolen luggage from the same gas station multiple times per day
- What have property crime rates been in the U.S. over the past few decades and since the end of the pandemic
- What are reasons property crime rises and falls
- What is inventory shrink and how is it impacting retailers
- What can we do to reduce the risk of being a crime victim
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Welcome to Money for the Rest of Us. This is a personal finance show on money, how it works, how to invest it, and how to live without worrying about it. I’m your host, David Stein. Today is episode 447. It’s titled “Our Car Was Attacked. Is Property Crime Increasing?”
Rental Car Assault
About a week ago, LaPriel and I were attending a family wedding in the East Bay Area. Lovely event. And as we were returning, our rental car to the airport, we got off the highway near the Oakland airport, and I stopped at a Chevron station on Hegenberger Road.
It looked like a clean station, there was a choice between two to choose from. I filled the car with gas and got back in the car and was getting ready to start it when we heard a giant crash. It startled us, and then we heard another crash. LaPriel looked and yelled because there were hands reaching into the back of the hatchback of the Venza that we rented from Fox Rent a Car. Two hands trying to steal our bags.
I immediately jumped out of the car, without even thinking, and yelled “Get out of here!” I ran around the car, and the thief by then jumped into their escape car and they took off, without actually getting anything. There was glass, obviously, all over our luggage.
I get back in the car and LaPriel says “Should we call the police?”
“No, I’m getting out of here. What if they come back?” I saw them drive around the corner. It was a grey car, tinted windows. I didn’t get the license plates. So we drove to the airport and dropped the car off, reported it to the attendant there. When he saw what happened, he basically could tell us exactly where we went, at that Chevron station.
I asked him how many of the cars that visit that gas station, that return there have their luggage stolen, or their window smashed? He said 80% to 90%. He says they “I warn people all the time, don’t go there.” As well as the In and Out Burger right next to it, because so many thieves are smashing windows, or just opening doors and taking luggage.
Within a couple hours on that same day, we had some extended family members go to that same gas station. Two of the occupants of the car went inside the gas station; there was one gentleman that remained in the car, and another car pulled up right behind him, went to the front seat, opened the trunk latch, and stole their luggage, unfortunately.
I afterwards looked at the reviews of this gas station. One and a half stars. And it lists individuals after individuals that had things robbed at the station. One reviewer says “I told the Hertz car rental attendant at Oakland airport I was robbed. He asked if I got gas at the Hegenberger Chevron. Wow, he reads mind. He proceeded to tell me that four other people were robbed that same day. And how many other people were victimized that we don’t know about, from National, Hertz, etc. How many were robbed and didn’t bother to report it.”
He said, “Some did not realize they were robbed until after they got gas and opened the trunk at the car rental lot.”
Now, I’ve not heard back from Fox Rental Car. They said they’d call me. I’m shocked that the counter agent didn’t warn me. I’m equally shocked they gave me a car with Florida plates, which obviously indicated I wasn’t local.
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