lundi, juin 16, 2008

Daylight robbery

When Claire was here visiting me a few weeks ago, she had her bag robbed in my car. I was driving and stopped at a traffic light. Suddenly, I heard Claire screamed and as I turned my attention to her, I saw that the passenger's window had been smashed and a person was grabbing Claire's bag. My first reflex was to switch off the car's engine and gave chase. Claire joined me but the two boys were much faster than us. As I ran, I shouted hoping to get help. However, there was not many people in the streets and I remembered an old man just watching us passed by.

We lost sight of the 2 boys after they turned into an open air parking. A lady who was on her way to work saw us and helped to call the police while we tried to catch our breath. A delivery man who was leaving the parking offered to try to catch up with the boys. Claire and I had some minor cuts from the broken glass and my lips were bleeding. As I had left my car right in the middle of the road, I decided to park it properly while the kind lady waited for the police to arrive. The incident happened so fast that I wonder if any cars noticed it. If so, why didn't anyone help?

After parking the car at the nearby gas station, we went back to the parking to wait for the police. A middle-aged lady who heard the commotion from her office came down to offer us help. She herself had been a victim of such incident. When the police car arrived, we described Claire's bag and its content. We then headed to the nearest police station to make a police report. We waited to file our complaints and in the end, we spent 3 hours there.

After the police station, we went to the nearby car wash to vacuum and clear up the broken glasses. When we came home, we were tired and shaken out. As Claire had my key in her bag, we were scared that my apartment would be the next target. To make matters worse, Seb was away in Sweden. He did help me find a locksmith to change our lock in the evening. Still, I was not able to sleep the whole night.

We were suppose to go Chartres to have lunch with my granny-in-law but that was cancelled. Normally, I do not take this road but on that day, I needed to drop by the post office. I already know that such incidents happened as I had friends, a neighbour and ex-colleagues (all females) who had their car windows smashed. These robbers usually ride in scooters so that they could get away easier. They target single women who left their bags on the passenger seat. Once the car stopped, the robber would strike. I did remind my friends to be careful with their bags and to keep it out of sight. So long as the bag could not be seen, we would not attract attention. What I did not know then was that these robbers could be on foot as well.

I felt bad for Claire as this incident spoils her holidays. Claire felt bad for me as we had to change the door lock and the car window. In the police station, the policeman confirmed that there was about 10 such cases each day. They were committed by youth gangs and even though half of them were caught, they would be let off easily by the judge since they were minors.

So far, nothing had been recovered except for Claire's red pull. She lost her digital camera which contained many photos of her trip. The good thing was that she did not bring out all her cash, her handphone and passport. We decided to brush this incident away by heading to Paris right after cleaning up the car. To lift up our spirits, Anca invited us out for dinner. We did have a good time. And of course when Seb was back and the car window repaired, we made it for lunch with my granny-in-law.

2 commentaires:

singairishgirl a dit…

That was truly unfortunate. What a scare!

Beau Lotus a dit…

Aye, that was horrifying. And like D said, unfortunate.

Hub knew a guy who was removed from his own car when he stopped at a red light in Bagnolet and the thief just drove away in his car leaving the guy on the pavement.

And a friend of ours got out of her car in the 13th (rue de Tolbiac) after she has parked it and someone opened her car door on the passenger side and grabbed her bag.

When I was living in Paris, I usually walked aound in paper bags. Didn't want to attract attention carrying some nice bag and have someone snatch it when I was walking in the street.