Thanks for Stealing: Part I

Thieves guild

I have read fanciful sword, sandals and sorcery epics wherein there were such things as a guild of thieves. After much reflection, I am certain that such things exist for I fear that in my carelessness I have been struck repeatedly by such louts. Each time I learned a lesson. Each time I likely learned not nearly enough.


Travelers and thieves

On the first occasion I was a newly minted traveler of the highways of central Florida. I had recently quit the sterile beaches of Melbourne, Florida and discontinued my employment as a civilian contractor on a military base. I decided to bypass Mickey Mouse and instead became ensconced in seedy digs not far from Tampa, Florida.


Motel hell

The motel where I was to spend the next few weeks was home to migrants, immigrants, prostitutes and several male individuals who means of employment was uncertain—at least at first.

In my first of many mistakes I complained about the first room the motel clerk gave me. He rewarded me by removing me from the front of motel to the back of the motel. Now, as luck would have it, my car was invisible from the street. In addition, the thoughtful clerk put me on the third floor.

It can get pretty warm in the summertime in Florida even at night and so I had my noisy air conditioner on and as I slept. During my slumber my car was stolen.

In retrospect I may have barely noticed a car alarm under drone of the air conditioner—I am not sure. But when was the last time you saw someone actually trying to steal a car when the alarm was going off? So if I heard it I probably rolled over and went back to sleep.


Identity theft

Later, the police found my car and returned it to my, sans all my worldly goods. This was not as bad as it seems since the thieves had dumped most of my worthless—at least worthless to them—in the parking lot when they fled. Herein I learned the first of many lessons. It ws my habit in those days to keep duplicates of everything. Car keys, bank cards, credit cards, just about everything I thought it would be bad if I misplaced. My greatest fear at the time was that I would lose some vital thing and not have access to it at some crucial moment. It would be cumbersome to keep all those dupes in my pockets so as I traveled I kept them in the car. They were in my mind securely locked way in the glove compartment and in the trunk. To the thieves had only to break a window, a glove compartment lock and the lock on the trunk to have access to my entire life and my car.

Within 5 days I had gotten my car back. After I dealt with the police, the insurance company, the credit card company and the bank, a kindly garbage man who found hundreds of dollars of savings bonds and other assorted stolen paper work abandoned by the side of the road called me and returned them to me. The garbage man refused to take any money.


I was robbed!

I felt as though I had been turned upside down until all my worldly goods fell out on the pavement. My debit card had been used to buy some gas. Some checks were written on my back account.

But on the plus side I was physically unharmed. I got most of my stuff back including the car. The car had suffered only superficial damage. Since reported everything promptly to the police, the bank, and the credit card companies, I was not out for the stolen money. The insurance company fixed most of the damage on the car. I did not have the stuff in the car insured and that was a mistake.

Long strange trip

It may sound strange, but after it was all over, I was sitting in that dirty motel room, waiting for the daily afternoon thunderstorm, which would be accompanied by the obligatory power outage, something occurred to me.

I had gotten off too easy.

Once, as I stared out the window at my car to make sure no one stole it again, I notice three cars drive up. Some young men jumped out of two of the cars and they began to help the man who drove third ransack “his” car. As I watch, one of the young men threw up some “worthless” trinket high into air. Most of the time the thieves discarded what they regarded as junk with far less theatrics. After a few moments of thievery, all the young men jumped into two cars and sped away.

I called the cops and gave them the cheap camera I had used to surreptitiously photograph the proceedings. It was a distant blurry picture so I doubt they were able to use it for anything.

Conspiracy theory

I got real conspiracy minded after that. I thought what if almost everyone, the hotel, the hotel clerk, the thieves and even the police were in on the scam. Suppose the whole deal was to take tourists and bleed them but not kill them. Nobody needs real trouble. After the thievery everybody gets a cut of the action. One of the things that made me suspicious of the police was the way they said they recovered my car. They claimed that someone noticed a car driving around at night with no lights on and when the police arrived everybody jumped out of the car and ran away. What made me suspicious was they police claimed they did not catch even one guy running away.

In truth, while it is an entertaining enough conspiracy theory it is very unlikely to be true. The reason I say this is because I can’t see where there would be enough loot to go around. I don’t think the police where in on it mostly because it doesn’t seem like it would pay enough for them to take the risk. I think it was just between the hotel clerk and the car thieves. Was the hotel management in on it? Who knows?

Comments 36 comments

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 22 months ago from Southern Oklahoma

I'm so sorry this happened to you! We do learn things the "hard way" sometimes. Thank God for that good trash man! I wouldn't doubt a bit that the hotel manager was in on it!

Besarien profile image

Besarien 22 months ago

You got the best revenge, though. You left everybody who did you wrong in Florida.

I say this as a native Floridian who got fed up with the people, the crime, and moved. Every once in a while someone used to rip a tree out of our yard to sell. Seriously, a tree. Everything else was behind bars and harder to take. We basically lived behind bars to keep the criminals out.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 22 months ago from USA

That sounds like the vacation from hell. I'm sorry that happened to you and glad that you found one good person in the middle of all of it (the garbage man). Sheesh.

lollyj lm profile image

lollyj lm 22 months ago from Washington KS

I feel bad for your experience, but enjoyed how you used tongue in cheek humor to make your points.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 22 months ago from London, UK

I felt happy when I read about your room being changed and you being able to see your car, then sad about your car being stolen....and then happy again when you got it back and even more happier when that man (Angel in Disguise) returned your items. Hope things are better now.

Stay safe.

techygran profile image

techygran 22 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

Interesting life-recording! I love your quirky style, and the photos you chose really added to the story. Good job.

Marina7 profile image

Marina7 22 months ago from Clarksville TN

I love your pics too!!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 22 months ago from North Texas

Even if the cops weren't getting a cut they may have been protecting the thieves -- sons of friends or something.

I grew up just outside a very small town of 365 people. There was a night watchman, but no police like you find in the city. Generally it was county cops that took care of anything the night watchman couldn't handle. The sheriff. Sons (and daughters) of well off citizens generally got off from anything they did pretty easy. Regular kids got fines and sometimes reform school.

Looking forward to part 2 . . .

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

Thanks for your comments Sheila. There does always seem to be a blessing involved if you know where to find it and certainly that trash man was a blessing to me.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

Besarien it sometimes seems like the craziest stories in the news come out of Florida. Stealing a tree is a concept that would take my breath away. My wife hates our neighbor's tree that sometimes seems to shed cypress leaves on our pool year round. I get the feeling my wife wishes something would happen to that tree but it 's way too big to steal!

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

FlourishAnyway, I think there is a reason why they say: "Count your blessings."

Have a blessed day!

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

Laurel Johnson (lollyj lm) sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

Elena (Lady_E) thanks for your kind thoughts. I guess you can never rest on your laurels. What did they used to say in those shark movies? Just when you thought it was safe to return to the water...

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

Cynthia (techygran) I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Have a blessed day!

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

Glad you enjoyed the images Marina (Marina7). Be blessed!

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

C. E. Clark (Au fait) sometimes I see things that make me wonder if the fix is in.

I plan to publish part deux soon!

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 22 months ago from sunny Florida

Hate it that you had such an experience in my lovely Florida. I am only glad that you were not physically harmed and that at least some of what you had lifted was salvaged.

Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

Thanks for your kindness Patricia. The experience did not sour me on Florida. It just made me a little less careless.

Florida does still produce some crazy headlines now and then though. Like that face eater thing?

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 22 months ago from Houston, Texas

I think that there are crazy things that happen everywhere...small towns and large cities alike. So nice that the garbage man was honest. It is a shame that there are people who resort to stealing from others. Good that you got most of your things back. I guess that was quite a lesson to be learned about keeping personal identifying items and credit cards, etc. in your glove compartment.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

Yes Peggy, I think I learned some value lessons. I rarely have duplicates of any of that personally identifiable stuff anymore and I have not had any difficultly from doing that.

Thanks for dropping by. Have a blessed day!

Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 22 months ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A great tale, you have a gift for finding the things people enjoy reading about! In many countries the aim is for everyone in the vicinity to rob the tourist, so I wouldn't put it past them. Voted AWESOME and shared on What The Hub? on Google +

Jodah profile image

Jodah 22 months ago from Queensland Australia

An unfortunate experience to go through Poetryman for sure but these are the things that make a good story. This scenario is probably more common than we we would like toto think. I have never had my car or possessions stolen, but I have had my credit card hacked and someone used it to buy About $700 worth of video games etc. My bank saw strange activity on my accounts nod phoned me, saying they would refund the money but I had to change my card. Fortunately the bank founds the problem and rectified it. Treat this as a learning experience. Voted up.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

Hello Suzanne thanks for the support. I agree that tourists are probably easy marks all over the world.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author


Thanks for the vote. Like you I found that proper followup meant I was not out the money someone took from my bank account and debit and credit cards. It was mostly a annoying learning experience for me. There is the notion that we do certain things to keep honest people honest.

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 22 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

I'm sorry that your car and possessions were stolen, poetryman, but you've created an interesting hub about the experience!

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

Hello Alicia. Thanks for dropping by. I hope you have a blessed day!

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 22 months ago from Sunny Spain

I am sorry that thieves stole your car along with the items you had locked in the glove compartment for safe keeping. I know from experience that having things stolen from you is not a pleasant experience. But, I am happy to say I will be taking away with me the memory that of most of the stolen items were found and returned.

The honesty and kindness of the trash man shine out in this story, his kindness has blessed you and me too :D

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

I am glad you found some blessings in the story maggs224. There is that old silver linings thing.

Have a blessed day!

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Poetryman, I'm glad you were okay and not hurt. How terrible. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Voted up for interesting!

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

Thanks for the vote of confidence Kristen. You know what they say: May you live in interesting times!

Be blessed.

CorneliaMladenova profile image

CorneliaMladenova 22 months ago from Cork, Ireland

What a pity you had such a horrible experience. I don't know will this fact calm you, but you can suffer the same if you visit some of the really beautiful Bulgarian resorts. :(

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago Author

Cornelia that is bad news about the Bulgarian resorts. I guess that tourists are always targets.

Indian Chef profile image

Indian Chef 20 months ago from New Delhi India

Sorry for your loss.. I hope they catch them soon

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 20 months ago Author

Thanks for dropping by Indian Chef. Have a blessed day!

Felisa Daskeo profile image

Felisa Daskeo 19 months ago from Manila, Philippines

Sorry about your bad experience. At least you were not hurt.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 19 months ago Author

Thanks for dropping by Felisa. You are right that coming out unharmed is the important thing.

Be blessed!

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