Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jamaica Plain Isn't "Fit" for Hondas

If you own a Honda Fit or Civic and you reside in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, you better watch out: some unscrupulous hooligans who have a thing for hubcaps are coming for your wheels, and there's nothing you can do about it.

I should know. They nabbed my wheels on Monday night.

On Tuesday morning I awoke to find that my 2009 Honda Fit Sport wasn't where I had parked it the night before. In its place were two six-foot long parallel gouges in the concrete, as if someone had removed the wheels of my car and and dragged it along the pavement. Apparently, the hooligans broke the driver's window, rifled around the car, removed the wheels, then dropped the vehicle unceremoniously to the road. It didn't matter that I had locking lug nuts. Apparently, my car looked something like this.

I never saw it because the police came around at 6:41 a.m. (according to the police report I picked up from the station later in the morning), called a tow truck, which then dragged my once proud car across the pavement and onto its flatbed at 7:30. All of this while I'm in the kitchen, naively typing away about mall rot in America. At 8:15 I make the discovery, put in a call to the cops, and confirm that my car had been vandalized and then towed.

It's sad that I'm a victim of crime. What sadder is that I'm not the first--or even the second, third, fourth, or fifth--person this has happened to in the past six months. The police, the auto body shop, even the insurance company all informed me that there's been a spate of similar larcenies...almost all of them occuring in Jamaica Plain. The auto body dude said that one woman brought her Civic in six times, all six times without wheels. But mostly it seems to be happening to Honda Fits.

I was walking home from work today (I didn't drive...but not because I didn't have wheels: because I can walk, ride my bike, or take the T to work), and I passed a dude in a 2008 Fit with locking lug nuts on his rims. I knocked on his window to say that those were smart but that determined thieves could get around them. He said that in February they had hit up his ride, taking all four wheels and smashing a window. He lives in Fenway. He now has two sets of locking nuts, an alarm system, and he pays to have it garaged.

So it's happening all over this city. And go back to the link above (this one) and scroll down to the last comment, by Sue: you'll see it's happening all over Seattle, too, and other comments there show it has happened recently in Florida.

Why? Because young dudes with nothing better to do than imitate the "Fast and the Furious" like to "soup up" their Hondas. Check out this provocative post to some forum or this ridiculous step-by-step.

Wow. I just wanted the car because it got good gas mileage (averaged 42.5 miles per gallon on a trip to Vermont and back!), was cheap, had tons of safety features, looked cool, drove well, and was a hatchback. Looks like I got more than I bargained for.

Who knows? Maybe that this happened on the day that GM declared bankruptcy is divine punishment for owning a foreign car. And how very strange that the rental car my insurance is paying for is Chrysler.

But, hey, Honda owners, if this has ever happened to you, leave a comment here saying where you live and how the hell you prevented it (if you did) from happening again.

P.S. Emily just reminded me that the car is not "mine" but "ours." So it should read, "They nabbed our wheels on Monday night" or "confirm that our car had been vandalized and towed." Good point, honey. Anyway, you drive it more than I do.

P.P.S. One interesting note I forgot to mention. When I took my car in for an oil change about 3 months ago, the mechanic told me about the Jamaica Plain/Honda Fit problem and advised that I put on a set of locking lug nuts. I did what he said, and sure enough that very night some moron took off a few of the regular nuts until he hit the locking one, gave it a few angry cranks with his ratchet, and gave up. For the past three months, Emily and I thought we had the crooks beat, and we pointed to the now slightly rusty locking nuts as proof. Guess we thought wrong.

1 comment:

keira said...

Man, oh man. This reminds me of the first week I lived on Cranston Street. A car was completely (and I mean COMPLETELY) stripped in broad daylight on about 20 feet from Fat Ram's Tattoo Shop. And I felt ridiculous having walked past them (early on in their job)on my way to work-- assuming they were "attempting to change a tire."

Ben and Karyn in Somerville were also victims of this Honda Fit phenomenon--but the cops were thrilled to see that the culprits had left their wrench behind. They had a scene out of CSI outside their apartment to dust for prints and take down the Honda Fit ring in the neighborhood.