Detective Dan takes the mic to recount a couple of wild cases involving some very crafty crooks. Thieves can be clever, so it takes some real police work to break the case. In part one, you’ll get to know a couple of key fob bandits. It’ll remind you to keep close watch on your gym locker. In part two, you’ll meet the charming but dangerous members of Stu’s Crew.Read Transcript
Yeardley: [00:00:04] Hey, Small Town Fam, it’s Yeardley. I hope you’re all well and looking after yourselves. The news cycle these days is so awful and brutal that we thought we’d offer a little distraction, in the way of another treat from the best of our Patreon archives. These two cases are from Detective Dan, and they serve as cautionary tales to help you avoid becoming the victim of a crime. But also, if you hate exercising, the first case might be just the reason you need to cancel your gym membership. Please enjoy the Key Fob Burglaries and Stu’s Crew.
Yeardley: [00:00:46] Hey, Small Town Super Fam, here we are, again on Patreon. Oh, my God. I love these visits. You guys are awesome. I have with me here, are you ready? Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:00:56] Good afternoon.
Yeardley: [00:00:58] Good afternoon. And I have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:01:01] I am here again.
Yeardley: [00:01:02] The band is all together. Small Town Super Fam, as you know, this is where we get the tastiest, snackable content. Gentlemen, take it away.
Dave: [00:01:13] I get assigned this report. It’s a burglary. This family had two cars. Husband and wife took one of the cars out for the afternoon. When they came home, they find their house burglarized and the car’s missing from the garage. The person that broke into the house stole a bunch of credit cards and checkbooks, jewelry, etc. The other thing is, he’s got a garage door opener in his car.
Yeardley: [00:01:41] Who does, the husband?
Dave: [00:01:42] Yeah, the car that’s been stolen has the garage door opener. A lot of people don’t lock that door from the garage to the main house. So, if you have the garage door opener, you just click it and you have full access to the house.
Dave: [00:01:56] Plus, people keep a lot of valuable things in their garage, welders and–
Dan: [00:02:01] Things that can quickly be turned into dope or cash on the street.
Dave: [00:02:06] The car and its license plate are entered onto our hot sheet which has all the local stolen cars that are outstanding. Over the next couple of days, we have a string of thefts. One occurs at a local athletic club. This is the first time I get a look at who my offender is. The stolen car pulls into the parking lot, and I can even see the license plate. The video is really good. A female and a male get out of the car, they’re in their mid to late 20s, and they walk into the athletic club. The female walks into the women’s locker room, the male walks into the men’s locker room. What we figured out is that some of these people that were working out there, didn’t lock up their stuff in a locker. They just put it in a locker and didn’t actually secure the locker.
[00:03:02] My male and female suspects start rifling through people’s lockers while they’re working out. And they come up with car keys, and they’ve got wallets, so they’re stealing credit cards, cash necklaces, because you don’t want to break your necklace while you’re working out, all kinds of things. They go out into the parking lot. There are probably 30 cars in the parking lot. They hit the buttons to figure out which cars are open.
Yeardley: [00:03:27] Oh, which cars correspond to which set of keys?
Dave: [00:03:31] Which set of key fobs, and they open cars and they go through the glove compartment and people keep their registration, their insurance card in the glove compartment, and they’ve got an address. They know that these people are working out, so they’re going to be gone for an hour or two. They go to these nearby addresses and burglarize their house because they have keys to the house.
Yeardley: [00:03:56] Because they have the set of car keys that are probably with the set of house keys.
Dave: [00:04:01] Correct.
Yeardley: [00:04:01] How did they get past the reception desk at the athletic club?
Dave: [00:04:05] Good question. They just happen to walk in at the right time. It was kind of a perfect storm. It just so happened that the person who was working the front desk just stepped away from the front desk for a few seconds, and they slipped by. I mean the timing of it is just unfortunate.
Dan: [00:04:25] A bunch of these houses get burglarized, and it’s not necessarily that day. We get a few burglaries that happen in the next couple of days at these involved residences from the athletic club. One of our patrol officers, he gets in contact somebody, and he had a reason to arrest him and they said, “Hey, do you want to know who’s been doing all those burglaries?” And he says, “Well, yeah, sure, of course, I want to know that.” And they give them information, give them first names, this female’s name is Amy, and the other guy, his name is Bill. So, he does some checking, he can’t figure out exactly what their names are but this informant basically tells him, “Hey, I think they’re staying over at this apartment.”
Yeardley: [00:05:12] So, those aren’t their actual names?
Dan: [00:05:15] We don’t have their last names. I’ve got Amy and Bill at this point. The patrol officer goes to the apartment that the informant directs them to. He knocks on the front door, and somebody answers the front door, sees that it’s a police officer and takes off running out the back of the house.
Yeardley: [00:05:36] [laughs] That’s not too obvious.
Dan: [00:05:38] Leaves the door open.
Yeardley: [00:05:40] And this patrol officer was by himself. The person who ran, he did not recognize. He’s looking for Amy and Bill at this point, but he doesn’t even know what they look like yet.
Dan: [00:05:53] Oh, because you don’t have last names, so you can’t pull up a mugshot or anything.
Yeardley: [00:05:56] Exactly.
Dan: [00:05:57] So, this patrol officer hangs out at the house, and he notices inside, there are a bunch of backpacks that are sitting inside the door. He can’t break that threshold at this time. It’s an illegal search. So, he’s standing there looking at these backpacks and he gives some descriptions. Another patrol officer shows up and they start running some recently stolen property.
Dave: [00:06:23] You take a theft report, and you start listing the stolen property, you’re going to list the brand of the bag, the color, the style, and then separately, the types of belongings that were inside that. I can call dispatch or I can have another officer with a computer, they can pull up the case number and go, “Okay, so what was stolen in that?” And they’re like, “Well, it’s a blue backpack with white straps, North Face brand, and this was in it.” And you’re like, “Well, there’s that backpack right there.” So, really useful if you can be detailed in your initial report, because later on, we come across this stuff.
Dan: [00:07:00] I think one of them was like a Louis Vuitton wristlet. I mean, it’s sitting right on the floor, and it’s 10 feet away from this officer. So, that’s when I get called in as a detective. At this point, no one else is in the house, but I got to write a search warrant to get into this house. It’s like 10:30 at night, and I’ve got to write the search warrant, I’m going to be up all night. I have the officer hang out there at the house to make sure the house is secured. If we close the front door, who’s to say that somebody else isn’t going to come inside the house from the back and remove that property, and then when we serve the search warrant, we open the door and it’s all gone? We’ll look like idiots. We just leave the door open, and we just stationed somebody at the front until we get the search warrant and we’re blessed to go inside.
[00:07:51] It takes me several hours to write this search warrant. What I’ve got to include is, I’ve got a pretty good feeling that all these cases that I’ve been assigned over the last few days, I’ve got to list all that property in the search warrant. Get it written, get it approved by the DA, go get it signed, it’s like early the next morning, it’s probably 7:00 in the morning when I go get it signed by the judge. Come back to the apartment, we serve the search warrant, and I’m finding all kinds of stuff. There’s stuff in upstairs’ bedrooms that is tied to these burglaries and the stolen car. I’ve got the victims’ names, I’ve got their IDs, their credit cards, all kinds of stuff.
[00:08:30] In one of the bags, I’ve got an ID with Amy’s face on it and her last name. Now, I know who it is and she matches up to the video that I’ve seen from the athletic club. I don’t know who Bill is yet. I don’t have his last name yet. But I’m running some associations with Amy through our computer system, and that’s when I figure out who Bill is. They’ve had prior police contact. So now I’ve got him, I confirm his photo, his old mugshot, I’m like, “Okay, these are definitely the people that I’m looking for.” I flagged them in our system. So, if any officer or law enforcement has contact with them that I get notified, and off we go. What I’m still looking for, is I’m looking for this original stolen car that was taken during the burglary, and it was a black Ford SUV.
[00:09:24] I go back to the station, I lodge all the recovered stolen property that I’ve got. When I get done with all that paperwork– we’re in the afternoon now, like I’ve been up for all night, and then all the way till the afternoon when I finally get finished with all this search warrant stuff. I go back out, and I go a few blocks north of this apartment complex, and I’m just driving down a main road and I look down a side road and I said, “Ah, that might be my stolen car right there,” and it’s parked on the side of the road.” So, I flip around, go down the road, and sure enough, that’s my car. That’s the car that I’ve been looking for.
[00:10:05] I’m hoping that Amy and Bill are inside this car so I can wrap this thing up finally. There’s nobody inside the car. And then, it becomes clear to me that they’ve wiped this entire car down with wet wipes. You can see the marks on the doors. Actually, the door was unlocked. So, I get inside this car, and you can smell like the wet wipes, and there just happens to be a bag of wet wipes sitting there on the floorboard. They’ve wiped this complete, they’ve wiped the whole car clean, I’m not going to find fingerprints or anything like that. And it’s completely empty. There’s no stolen property. Basically, they’re done with this car. They really are.
Dan: [00:10:58] I start searching social media for Amy, and I notice that she’s got a friend on her friends list that I know. I know this person. So, I go to him, and I say, “Hey, how well do you know this girl?” And he goes, “Oh, man, she’s bad news. She just went off the deep end. I know she got into drugs and she started running around with a different circle.” I was like, “Well, do you know how to get ahold of her? We need to have a conversation.” And he says, “I don’t want to snitch on her.” So, this guy has a past and he’s cleaned up his past, but he still kind of lives by that code where he doesn’t want to snitch on anybody, and I get that. But at the same time, these people are just running wild in our town. They’ve done so many things. I get assigned another case where they went to a coffee shop, it’s a drive-up coffee shop, and Amy and Bill had placed their orders, and when the barista turned to make their orders, they reached in the tip jar and took all the cash out of there. If it’s not bolted down, they’re taking it. I’ve got great surveillance video from that one. I’m like, “Well, that’s Amy, and that’s Bill.” I talk to this person who’s familiar with Amy, and I said, “Hey, I could really use your help. I need some assistance in this.” I think I’d been up for like 40 plus hours at that point. So, he says, “Well, I have a feeling that she’s staying at this certain motel.”
Yeardley: [00:12:30] This person with a past who doesn’t want to snatch?
Dan: [00:12:33] Yeah. He says, “I will help you out. I just want you to leave my name out of the report.” I’m like, “No problem. Just point me in the direction.” And he says, “I think that Amy is staying at this old motel.” Great. So, I go back to the station, grab a couple guys. I grab the patrol officer who I had went to the apartment originally and the person ran out the back. He’s been home now and slept and came for his new shift. So, he’s on and I’m like, “Perfect, I’ll grab you. You already helped me out for this.” So, I need a patrol car, uniform presence. If we catch Amy or Bill driving, I want to do a traffic stop, and I can’t do that my unmarked car.
Yeardley: [00:13:14] Oh.
Dan: [00:13:15] I actually didn’t even have overhead lights in my unmarked car. It was like a completely undercover car. Take this uniformed patrol officer. They’re like four cars of us heading up to this motel. As we pull up to this motel, I’m preparing to pull into the parking lot of the motel. I look to my left, and there’s this blue Buick, and I look in and I’m like, “Well, that’s Amy and that’s Bill.” They’re driving out of the parking lot. Amy looks right at me, makes eye contact with me, and I think she was like, “That kind of looks like a cop.” And then, you see three other cars behind me including a patrol car, and she knew right away. She’s like, “Oh, the cavalry has come to get me.” I get on the radio. I’m going to turn around on Amy. I tell the patrol car who’s the last in line of our little caravan that we’ve got, I said, “Stop that car. That’s our suspects. That’s Amy and Bill,” so they turn around on that car and stop that car. Well, by the time he turns around on him, she’s gone. Pursuit is on.
[00:14:21] She takes us through this residential neighborhood, speeds are 50 miles an hour on a 25 zone. It’s really windy road. She ends up popping out on a main thoroughfare and takes us into the neighboring city. This is where she kind of amped it up. She’s going 70-75 miles an hour on a 35-mile-an-hour road, and she’s blowing through lights. At that point, we say terminate.
Yeardley: [00:14:50] Terminate that pursuit?
Dan: [00:14:51] Terminate. It’s not worth it. We’ve got property crimes and burglaries. We’re not going to endanger the public.
Dave: [00:14:57] And you know who it is.
Dan: [00:14:59] And they’re identified. We know who we’re looking for. So, we terminate the pursuit. We slow down to regular driving speed, and we continue on just to see if maybe they ditch the car. But a lot of times, what do they do, Dave?
Dave: [00:15:15] They drive over their heads, and they crash.
Dan: [00:15:18] And that’s what Amy did.
Yeardley: [00:15:19] Oh!
Dan: [00:15:20] And we hadn’t been pursuing her for over a minute, and she still continued driving at breakneck speeds. She tried to get around traffic to go through another light, and she hit a concrete median and blew a tire and she ended up sliding sideways into a business. Right as the car stops and the doors fly open, we begin arriving on the scene and everyone runs. There are three occupants. Amy runs westbound, Bill runs southbound, and this other person just kind of tries to casually walk away.
Yeardley: [00:16:00] Who’s the other person?
Dan: [00:16:01] The other person is friends with both of them. I don’t have any PC for them.
Dave: [00:16:09] He’s just in a car that took off from the police.
Dan: [00:16:11] Yeah. And he’s like, “Well, what do I do? Do I run? What am I running for? Oh, shit, there’s a lot of cops around.” And we get him into custody. The patrol officer ran after Amy and caught Amy. And then, I ran after Bill, and I got Bill. We round them all up, take them back to the station, and the other person is free to go, like we end up kicking them loose, like, “Hey, I’ve got nothing for you.” I ID him just for purposes of knowing who was in the car in my report, and I kick him loose. Have the car towed back to the station. I ended up getting consent, which I was happy for, because I didn’t have to write another search warrant. I got consent to search the car, which was not stolen. It was actually Amy’s aunt’s car, I think. The motel room that was rented in Bill’s name, I ended up getting consent for, so I didn’t have to write a search warrant for the motel room.
Yeardley: [00:17:05] Who gives you consent for the motel room?
Dan: [00:17:07] Bill does. I ended up sending detectives outside our department to go search the car. I send two detectives up to the motel to search the motel. They’re calling me on the phone, “Hey, are you looking for this?” “Yes.” We start finding all kinds of stolen property, and we’re running names of stolen credit cards, all that. It’s all coming back to victims of burglaries and thefts and unlawful entry into vehicles. So, we’re checking all the boxes, recovering a lot of property. We’re not recovering everything. There’s dope in the hotel room. Of course, it’s meth. And then, I interview Amy and Bill. I think they were just tired at this point. They’d been up for a while, probably as long as I had because they were meth users. Amy was a little tougher nut to crack, but Bill pretty much gave it up from the get-go. Bill ended up getting five years in prison. He pled guilty and took five years in prison. Amy, we come find out, is like really the ringleader of this whole thing.
[00:18:14] She was pushing all the buttons, telling people what they were going to do, Bill and these other people that they had involved in this. She ended up getting like nine years in prison for all these burglaries. Amy had dabbled in some drug use, and then got out of it. But when she relapsed, she relapsed really, really hard. This just shows you how fast your life can unravel. Her relapse to her going to prison, all happen in about four months. She was gainfully employed. I think she worked in a medical office. And then, she went out partying one night, tried meth, and she fell off the rails again. Within a week or two, she had lost her job. She’s hitting the meth really hard. She loses her house because she can’t pay rent. And now, she’s living out of motels and cars and couch-surfing and she starts committing crimes to support her drug habit, and that’s what we have here.
[00:19:18] You know what? One of the things that I always ask, “If treatment is made available to you, do you want to go through treatment?” Most of them say yes, but people aren’t going to take treatment seriously until they’re ready to. It’s kind of like disclosures that Dave talks about of these people who have been sexually abused. They have to be ready.
Yeardley: [00:19:41] Sure.
Dan: [00:19:42] Sometimes, it’s the police intervention that is the catalyst for them to say, “Oh, my God, my life is completely out of control. I need to stop this right now.” But it isn’t always
Yeardley: [00:19:55] Well, there you have it, Small Town Super Fam. Thank you for being here. You guys are awesome. Detective Dan, that’s a job well done.
Dan: [00:20:04] Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:20:05] Detective Dave, thanks for being here.
Dave: [00:20:08] Yeah, I remember that case. I was on the tail end of that pursuit.
Dan: [00:20:12] Wasn’t it you and your partner that searched the hotel room?
Dave: [00:20:15] Yeah. Went out and searched the room. I was like, “Eh, it’s a burglary case. It’s not a real person crime case. Let’s go, wrap this up.”
Yeardley: [00:20:23] [laughs] I love it when the band is all together.
Dave: [00:20:28] Likewise.
Yeardley: [00:20:42] Dan, I remember you told me this story some time ago, and I never forgot it because while this guy is a shithead car thief, I also thought, “Wow, that is quite a scam you’re running there, dude.”
Dan: [00:20:57] Yeah, this guy, Stu, ran around with a crew of car thieves. Stu and his crew, they [Yeardley giggles] stole a lot of cars, and they were really good at it. And we’re talking 1990 to 1997 Honda’s and Acuras because ’98, they changed the ignition on the Honda Accord and in the Acura, and made it a little more difficult.
Yeardley: [00:21:19] Just to be clear, those were the years of cars they were stealing, not when they were stealing the car.
Dan: Correct. 1990 to 1997 body style Honda and Acura. So, these guys were very good. They were prolific car thieves. They would go out in a night and they would steal four or five cars all over town in our neighboring town. What they always do is, they pull the stereos out, anything that was basically a value, they yank it out of there and move on and grab a different car.
Yeardley: [00:21:47] So, they didn’t take the car itself. They just took what was in it?
Dan: [00:21:49] Well, they took the car. They took the car to another location that was a little more remote. They would pull the stuff out, walk a block or get picked up by their partners. Or, if they weren’t getting picked up, they’d walk down the block, they’d find another car, because it was a very common car and they steal another one, using shaved keys. So, you can take your normal Honda key, and if you shave it down enough for those model years, ’90 to ’97, shave it down enough where it’s a general blank at that point. You put it in the ignition, jiggle it around, and all of a sudden, ignition turns over and you’re off to the races again.
Yeardley: [00:22:32] Shut up.
Dan: [00:22:33] If they found a car that they really, really liked, they would Bondo over on the firewall. So, if you pop the hood on the car, in the firewall, they would Bondo over the VIN number that’s imprinted in that. And they had access to factory paint, so they would reprint a different VIN number into the Bondo that actually looked like it was factory printed there and then they would paint over it with the factory-matching paint. So, if they were stopped by an officer, you’ve got the VIN number that’s right at the base of the windshield on the driver’s side, and they would print their own little VIN plates that would match up with– because the second most common place to look for the VIN number is that firewall in the engine compartment. So, those VINs would match and they wouldn’t come back as stolen, and they’d just drive around in these cars like it was no big deal.
[00:23:30] The other thing that this crew was doing, one of them worked at a stereo store, like a car stereo store. By all accounts, I’ve heard many accounts this guy was really talented at installing car stereos and had a very, very good skill. He just had sticky fingers too. So, he would install a car stereo, but maybe not go all the way with it. He would leave a couple screws out.
Yeardley: [00:23:59] To the naked eye, you probably couldn’t see?
Dave: [00:24:02] Yeah, that you couldn’t see, you put the speakers in there and everything. And if somebody had their garage door opener, he had access to all these garage door openers, he’d pop the garage door opener, see what the numbers were for the frequency on that garage door opener. So, he would clone that garage door opener. These people would go home with their car, with their brand-new stereo. A night or two later, Stu and the crew would come by, they hit the garage door that they’ve cloned. Garage door goes open, they get into the car. Meanwhile, they’ve also either got shaved keys or they had the keys to the car, so they duplicated the key.
Yeardley: [00:24:44] Oh, my God!
Dan: [00:24:46] And they would go in and here’s where the fewer screws than normal comes in, because now they can take all that stuff out and they’re saving themselves a few seconds or minutes by not having to undo all the screws. That’s how they’re breaking into these cars. They ended up getting caught. We had some informants that came forward that were telling us about Stu’s crews secrets. But these guys were really good. And they’re still around town. They’re not out stealing cars anymore.
Yeardley: [00:25:14] They’re not?
Dave: [00:25:15] We chased one of them a few weeks ago.
Dan: [00:25:17] Oh, really?
Yeardley: [00:25:18] Stealing cars?
Dave: [00:25:18] Not stealing cars, got back into the methamphetamine, but driving. Turned into a pursued, foot chase and a fight. Most of them have grown up and moved on to actual legitimate business. But some of them relapse every once in a while, and you’ll hear their name again, hear that they got arrested, and you’re like, “Ah, I remember good old days and those guys are out running around?”
Dan: [00:25:40] Yeah, made life a lot of fun. Well, Stu, I mean, I had heard through the rumor mill that this black Volkswagen Bug, one of the newer models, not like the 60s models, but a newer one was stolen. It had a temp tag driver’s license plate in it, a temp tag. So, there wasn’t a license plate to really match up to this car, because I can’t just run those numbers on those temp tags.
Dave: [00:26:06] We can now.
Dan: [00:26:07] Oh, you can? That’s nice.
Dave: [00:26:08] Yeah. We can now.
Dan: [00:26:10] Well, back in the day, we couldn’t. So, the rumor was this car is stolen, and they’ve doctored all the VIN numbers on this car. I think a typical car, it’s at least like 14 VIN numbers. If you know where to look, they’re like 14 different VIN numbers on a car. Something like that.
Yeardley: [00:26:26] Really?
Dan: [00:26:26] Yeah.
Dave: [00:26:27] Don’t ask me.
Yeardley: [00:26:28] [laughs]
Dan: [00:26:29] So, I see this car one night. I see him I’ve driving, I’m going to wait for probable cause to pull this car over. And then, I’m going to find out if this is the stolen car. He goes to turn into the Walmart, and doesn’t signal his turn, so I pull Stu over. And Stu is cool as a cucumber.
Yeardley: [00:26:49] Do you recognize him on a first name basis [crosstalk] Stu?
Dan: [00:26:52] Oh, yeah. We’ve seen each other before. Before I pulled this car over, I said, “Hey, I’m going to be traffic with a newer model, black Volkswagen Beetle.” And everybody on our shift kind of knew that there was this rumor that there was a Beetle rolling around that was stolen, but it would be really hard to prove. So, I ended up pulling Stu out of the car. He’s completely cooperative. He’s being nice and everything. I think he had a suspended license at the time but that really is not a big deal. That really pales in comparison to a potential stolen car charge. So, I’m checking the VIN numbers, and the VIN numbers are all matching up with what they’re supposed to be.
[00:27:30] I’m kind of prepared for this. I already know that the VIN number should match up because I know what these guys do to cars. I ended up getting into the backseat and I lifted one of the back seats up, and there’s a VIN number under the backseat. They didn’t change that one.
Yeardley: [00:27:47] Uh-oh.
Dan: [00:27:48] And that came back to a stolen car. So, I got Stu.
Dave: [00:27:51] D’oh!
Yeardley: [00:27:52] D’oh! Stu!
Dan: [00:27:53] That crew, they’ve been around forever, and we’ve chased them for years and years and years. Unfortunately, they’ve crashed their cars a couple times and it’s cost a couple of their lives for running from the police and crashing their cars at really high speeds in stolen cars. It’s just stupid.
Dave: [00:28:12] We’ve given these tips out before, but these guys will go around. We call them car clowders, people that break into cars in the middle of the night.
Yeardley: [00:28:19] Why clowders?
Dave: [00:28:19] I don’t know.
Dan: [00:28:21] I don’t know what the origination of that is either.
Dave: [00:28:24] So, they’re basically just prowling neighborhoods, going up to cars. And we get these calls from someone who says, “Hey, there’s two guys on bikes with flashlights, going back and forth across the street looking in a car windows.” Most reasonable people will go, “I wonder what they’re doing.” They’re looking for cars to break into. So, they’ll look for electronics. If you’ve got stuff out, if you’ve got a bag, it might be empty, but they’re like, “What’s in that bag?” And the curiosity kills them, and they have to break that window or get into that car to see what’s in the bag. Electronic cords, anything that’s out that somebody goes, “There’s some valuable right there. I’m taking it.”
Yeardley: [00:29:02] So, just the cord even if nothing is attached to it, don’t leave the cord in your car?
Dave: [00:29:06] Right. The other thing is people leave their garage door openers out in their car in the driveway. These guys, while going through the car, grab the garage door opener and say, “They’re going to go to work tomorrow, and I’ve got their garage door opener right here.” They walk by at about 9 or 10 o’clock in the morning, hit the garage door. No car in the driveway, no car in the garage, walk right in. Burglary.
Yeardley: [00:29:34] Wow!
Dave: [00:29:35] So, I always tell people, I’m like, “Hey, take your phone, take your laptop, take your wallet. I’ve seen people leave their keys on their seat. “Take it all inside. Don’t leave your garage door opener and your car outside. Even if you’re in somebody else’s parking lot, like you’re at the store, because your registration, if somebody breaks into your car and they see your registration, we have people grabbed titles and registration and insurance documents all the time because your address is going to be on it, so grab your garage door opener there.” And they’re like, “Well, they’re at the store right now. I’m going to their house.” This happens fairly frequently, people warming up their cars in the morning.
Yeardley: [00:30:18] And leaving the car while it warms up?
Dave: [00:30:20] Leave the car on. They go to a convenience store. You’ve got a couple of people loitering out front, they go to the convenience store, leave the car on, go inside. It’s only going to be a couple minutes, right? How long does it take to walk over to a car, open the door, get in the driver’s seat and back away?
Yeardley: [00:30:35] 10 seconds.
Dave: [00:30:36] So, we get those stolen cars all the time.
Yeardley: [00:30:38] I don’t get why you would go into a store and leave your car on. I don’t think I’ve ever done that.
Dave: [00:30:43] People do it all the time.
Yeardley: [00:30:45] That’s bananas.
Dave: [00:30:46] Well, you don’t have to warm your car up in LA either.
Yeardley: [00:30:49] I know but that’s crazy.
Dave: [00:30:51] I always go, “So you were warming your car up. When’s the last time you’re outside?” I was only inside for like 15 minutes.”
Yeardley: [00:30:58] 15 minutes!? [shockingly]
Dave: [00:30:59] Yeah. We always say, in this town or in this county, given the drug issues, the property crimes are way up. People break into cars, people steal cars, that if it’s not nailed down, it’s walking. It’s gone.
Dan: [00:31:16] We talked about this yesterday, how they break windows. Sparkplugs. He was part of Stu’s crew. He would take the plastic coat hanger, the base of the plastic coat hanger, the longest straightest piece. You break the plastic coat hanger so you’ve got that longest straightest piece. And then, you put your sparkplug tip at the very end of it, you just tape it on there. And if you pull that back, if you flex that thing and let it go, it swings forward with pretty good velocity and that sparkplug tip is going to hit the glass and it will shatter the glass pretty quietly actually. Otherwise, they’ll just flick these shards of the sparkplug against the window. It kind of makes a popping sound and, boom, they’re into your car.
Yeardley: [00:32:03] Because the porcelain is denser than the glass, you told me.
Dan: [00:32:06] Yeah.
Dave: [00:32:07] It’s nuts.
Dan: [00:32:08] Pool balls. Billiards balls.
Yeardley: [00:32:10] Really?
Dan: [00:32:11] Yeah. Devastating to glass.
Yeardley: [00:32:13] I did not know these things. I did not know that, Sam-I-Am. [chuckles] Well, there you go, Small Town Fam. Do not leave shit in your car.
Dan: [00:32:25] Don’t do it.
Yeardley: [00:32:25] Don’t do it.
Dave: [00:32:26] Trying to prevent you from being a victim of frustrating broken windows and property crimes.
Dan: [00:32:33] That’s the biggest thing about your car getting broken into. It’s usually not the valuables that really pisses you off. It’s, “Now, I’ve got to go get my window fixed.”
Yeardley: [00:32:41] I’ve had my car broken into, not recently, but I have had, and I will say it’s actually quite violating. They took the radio, I think, this was ages ago, I didn’t care about that. But it did bother me that somebody had been in my car who wasn’t supposed to be, who didn’t have any respect for the rules that the rest of us follow in order for society to function well.
Dave: [00:33:02] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:33:09] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and co-produced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Logan Heftel, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor, the Real Nick Smitty, and Alec Cowin. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. Our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
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Yeardley: [00:34:22] That’s right. Your subscription also makes it possible for us to keep going to small towns across the country-
Dan: [00:34:29] -in search of the finest, rare, true crime cases told, as always by the detectives who investigated them.
Dave: [00:34:36] So, thanks for listening small town fam.
Yeardley: [00:34:38] Nobody’s better than you.