by Lillian Csernica on January 26, 2017
A strange thing happened today on the way to the grocery store.
As I was walking toward the entrance, I noticed a big brown SUV parked across the aisle. No big deal, right? There are lots of SUVs around these days. What caught my eye was the driver’s side door hanging wide open. Then I realized I could hear the engine running. I took a closer look. There was no one inside the vehicle.
A security guard happened to be standing outside the store entrance. I hurried over to him and pointed out the SUV. The guard strolled over to the SUV just as a man walked up from behind it. They said something to each other that I couldn’t hear, then the one man climbed into the SUV while the security guard nodded and smiled.
When the guard came back, he told me the man said he’d just stopped for a minute so he could throw some trash in one of the Dumpsters. Really? The man parked that far away from the actual Dumpsters, then left the engine running and the driver’s side door open, in that part of downtown Santa Cruz?
How did that security guard know for sure the man he was talking was in fact the owner of that vehicle?
I wonder what would have happened if I’d dialed 911 and reported a car abandoned with the engine running. How soon would a patrol car have responded? Would the same man have walked up and taken possession of the SUV?
I’m going to keep an eye on the police blotter section of the local newspapers and see if any Grand Theft Auto cases turn up that fit the time and location. What I saw could have been exactly what it looked and sounded like. Still, it bothers me.