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  1. #1
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    Car Broken Into At Wissahickon

    Just a heads up, I parked my car at the lot up the road from the Valley Green Inn last Friday, July 13th and took my dog for a run around 2 pm. I left my wallet in my glovebox (foolish mistake) and somebody broke into my locked car and stole my debit and credit cards. They left the wallet and car as it was so I did not notice anything was missing until later that night. They managed to spend $1300 before I cancelled both. I would not suggest parking in that lot and take valuables with you riding. I should have known better being in Philly.

  2. #2
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    Parking around Wiss is notorious for break-ins. Bells Mills lot could be the worst. I constantly see broken auto glass in the lot and 3 times, yes three, I went to take a leak in the woods after a ride and found pocketbooks that had been rumaged through in the woods near the parking lot. I don't leave ANYTHING in my car when I go for a ride, cripes, the broken window alone will cost a couple hundred. The only lot that I will park in anymore is Northwestern Av. and I'm sure not even that lot is completely safe.

  3. #3
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    Break-ins are very common at Wiss, especially in the Valley Green area. The perps usually try to make it look like they take something else other than the wallet so that the victims dont report any missing cards as stolen. My brother had a credit card stolen out of his wallet that was in a gym bag in the trunk of the car. Whoever stole the card went on a shopping spree at Neimen Marcus before it was reported missing. I always wonder why the parking attendent for the Valley Green Inn that sits at the bottom of the hill doesn't hear the breaking of the car windows. I wouldn't be surprised if he is in on the scam. He could watch to see who has just arrived and give the theives a heads up. It really sucks that this is something that you have to worry about when you are trying to enjoy your time at the park.

  4. #4
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    i park at the movie theatre in manayunk, on main street. never had a problem there.

  5. #5
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    well this is good news...I pretty much always park at the Bells Mill parking lot when I go ride. My car is pretty shitty and I don't leave anything valuable in there, but I don't want my windows busted in any case. I've seen some shady individuals around the lots though, so I'm really not surprised that break ins are common around the park.

  6. #6
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    This is a timely thread!

    I parked at the Valley Green Rd lot on saturday morning (14th). There were only 4 or 5 other cars in the lot at the time. I rode from 8:00 a.m. to 10:10. In that time, someone broke into my (locked) car and tried to pry open my glovebox (also locked). Fortunately, the f#$%^ing dirtbag couldn't get past the lock on the glovebox so I still have my iPod and Sirius receiver.

    When I got back to my car, all of the doors were locked. If the a-hole hadn't been so sloppy with his screwdriver, I might not have ever noticed someone was in there. But my dashboard, glovebox door, and passenger side door lock now bear scars of some d!ckwad's failed break-in attempt.

    During the Rally, two cars parked adjacent to mine (belonging to friends) were broken into and it was the same situation as the OP - one credit card was stolen from each wallet. Nothing else was taken. Several thousand dollars worth of stuff was purchased on the cards at local Best Buy and Circuit City stores before either guy was alerted to the theft by the credit card companies.

    NEVER leave your wallet in your car ANYWHERE near Wissahickon.

    This last break-in attempt is the second time someone's tried to break in to my car (two diff. cars, actually - once at Bells Mill, now this time at VG Rd.) and is the SEVENTH break-in that I've been somehow involved with.

    #1. Friend's subaru (w/ alarm fwiw) was broken into @ Bell's Mill Rd. Wallet and CD player stolen from locked glovebox.

    #2. My car @ Bell's Mill. Two guys were trying to pop the lock on my old Volvo's driver's side door when my friend and I finished up our ride and showed up at the lot. They jumped into a white van and took off when they saw us coming.

    #3. Car at VG Rd. The owner walked up AS someone was leaning into his car. Thief took of running with the owner's wallet in hand. Owner chased him through the little stream and up the hill into the woods by the lot. The thief dropped the wallet but got away.

    #4. Day of last Poker Run. In the middle of a PACKED Valley Green Rd. lot, someone used a giant tree branch to smash the driver's side window of the SUV parked next to me. The branch was still laying on the hood of my car when I went back to change clothes after the ride.

    #5 & #6 - Day of Rally in the Valley - Friend's cars, VG Rd.

    #7 - last saturday, VG Rd.

    In light of all this, I'm at the point where I'm ready to swear off Wissahickon altogether. I love the trails, but something needs to be done about the frequency of break-ins.
    "mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson

  7. #7
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    Police Report?

    My bank suggested I file a police report since I know exactly where they spent my money and it was so much. Maybe you should as well and the police will start hanging around Wissahickon more. OR, we could get all get together and set up a nice car with monopoly money inside, wait for the bastards to strike while we hide in the woods, then shoot them with paintball guns...

  8. #8
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    so basically don't park at VG or Bells Mill? any break-ins on NW Ave or elsewhere?

    edit: isnt VG also one of the busiest lots in the park? people walking by on forbidden and such?

  9. #9
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    why dont one of you guys set up a camera in your car if it happens so much?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHertz
    why dont one of you guys set up a camera in your car if it happens so much?

    Ummm.... because I'd like to *keep* my video camera? What good does footage of someone breaking into my car do if they steal the camera that contains said footage?

    To whomever suggested the police report:

    There's little point in filing a report for this latest incident, since nothing was actually stolen. Police reports were filed for several of the other incidents. The police are well aware of the 'problems' in the park but I get the feeling they have little interest in doing much to prevent them because they're not 'violent' crimes. Petty theft and 'crimes of opportunity' don't rank high on their list of priorities, IMO, and they don't have the headcount needed to do 24-hr foot patrols at every lot in the park.

    jvp108: No, this is not the actual Valley Green Inn parking lot or the one adjacent to it on Forbidden Drive. The VGI lot is 'closed' to all but the handicapped and VGI patrons and the other one cannot be accessed from where I enter the park. The break-ins I mentioned all happened at the lot further up the hill on Valley Green Rd. (i.e. closer to chestnut hill.) Ironically, I started parking at this lot because all of the broken glass and 2 incidents at W. Bell's Mill Rd. convinced me that the VG Rd lot would be safer. For many years, it seemed like that was true - but not anymore.
    "mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson

  11. #11
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    I generally park at the south end of the park, on Kalos st near my buddies house, never had any problems there.
    Disclaimer: I no longer fix bikes for a living.
    National Ski Patroller to feed my winter habit.

  12. #12
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    Anyone run into problems parking on Lincoln Drive? I might have to head down there to park from now on.

  13. #13
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    Yes, my credit cards were stolen and $1300 was spent. I believe that is enough for a report, even if it might be useless. My bank knows where and when my card was used so it wouldnt take much to find the bastards. By the way, they spent over $200 at the same Eckerd three different times.

  14. #14
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    My sympathies to everyone who got broken into. Here are my 2cents and sob story of experience. When the weather was bad this winter, so instead of walking, I parked at the Wiss Septa station and had my window smashed and car ransacked by some crackhead for the $1.35 in change that was in the ash tray. Figuring the odds of it happening again were probably slim and not having left anything in my car to steal, I parked there again and they smashed the other window. Since I was getting off the train, misery loves company, and four other people in the parking lot unfortunately had the same feeling of anger and dispair I did. I hope the little bastard got a hot load and has died since breaking into my car.

    I called Philly's finest in the 5th district to report the incident(s). Their response was: "it has always been a bad spot down there." To which I responded: "then maybe you should take a drive through there once and a while." Let's face it - the Yunk/Roxborough doesn't have any real crime, like the rest of the City.

    So feeling a little pissed after spending $400 for two windows in a week, I called the City Council person, Carol Campbell, for the 4th District (Manayunk/Roxborogh). She has her **** together. Following my call to her office, I received a call back from the Capt of the 5th Dist Police, who told me he would be putting a plain clothes detail down there to try and catch the jerk off.

    What I am saying is that you should report the incidents because the police collect the statistics and the various district captains get heat from the police commissioner at their meetings when their stats are high for any type of crime; at least that is what Campbell's office told me. Also, you should tell her office, because they will call over to the cops and tell them to do something about it.

    Now for the practical advice - try parking in one of the neighborhoods and riding into the trails from there. The locals don't tolerate that break-in **** on their streets. I am lucky enough that I can ride to the park from my house. But sometimes I drive down, if I am taking the baby for a walk back there and I have never had a problem with my car in the Roxborough neighborhoods nor have I noticed any broken auto glass.

    Just some thoughts.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

  15. #15
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    and who is editing out my ****ing shitty language for **** sake in these posts?
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by justriding
    and who is editing out my ****ing shitty language for **** sake in these posts?
    It's auto-****ing-matic, mother****er!

    ****.

    see?
    "mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky1231
    Yes, my credit cards were stolen and $1300 was spent. I believe that is enough for a report, even if it might be useless. My bank knows where and when my card was used so it wouldnt take much to find the bastards. By the way, they spent over $200 at the same Eckerd three different times.
    I was talking about my car not yours. You should definitely file a report. Me?

    "Yes, officer. Someone broke into my car. Oh, no. They didn't actually steal anything and they locked up after themselves."

    I can almost see the jelly donut hitting the phone.
    "mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson

  18. #18
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    no ****ing ****...it was a ****ing retorical ****ing question.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stick
    Ummm.... because I'd like to *keep* my video camera? What good does footage of someone breaking into my car do if they steal the camera that contains said footage?
    lol dont just leave it sitting there.. hide it. like in a pile of clothes in the back seat or something.

  20. #20
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    I park on Lincoln a few times a week. No problems....yet. Ugghh. I did see some broken glass last week though.

  21. #21
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    Wissy parking

    Some of the best places to park are along the Roxborough Mt Airy, or Chesnut Hill residential trial heads. Safe parking of of Monastary ave, Rex Ave, Westview st, etc, etc.

    I have lived next to the park all my life (on both sides), and none of my friends cars have been messed with in 10 years of parking in so "lesser" used entry points. Also easier to deal with during a busier park day (ie Valley Green bumper car parking)

    my email is neilsilverman@msn.com if you need directions or suggestions

  22. #22
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    Safe Roxborough entry points

    Sound advice from many in this thread: Do not park at Bells Mills lot or up from Valley Green towards Chestnut Hill. Those lots are targeted by scums for some reason. I do see a police car there from time to time but not all the time and these scum only need a few minutes. Impossible to prevent. Definitely park at one of the many neighborhood trailheads. Roxborough has at least 5 that I can think of. These entry points are next to houses with people home and they won't allow this bullsheet. If they see said scum, they will call police immediately. Plus the dumb scum aren't aware of most of these entry points. Check a good map for these Rox entry points: Gorgas Lane, Green Lane, Graykyn Lane (at sports fields) Livezey St. (at the pavillion) Roxborough Ave. (near golf course). Me? I ride from my house. Problem solved

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  23. #23
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    my ipod was stolen out of my car at the lincoln drive lot last year, lower lot where the arch is, but since there was no broken window nor signs of a break-in i'm thinking it was due to an unlocked door.

    i normally part on northwestern and haven't had a problem but the more i hear about these issues i'm thinking that parking up close to bruno's and the ice cream shop is the best plan.

  24. #24
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    Just curious, but has anyone ever been robbed or know of others who have been robbed while inside the park? Its always something I think about when I'm riding around there. It's one thing if my car gets broken into, but a complete other problem if I get my bike stolen.

  25. #25
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    Time for a sting op

    Sounds like this is a major problem. It's also the perfect oportunity for local PD to run a sting. Park a vehicle with a camera inside then sit and wait until the stupid perp shows up. Arrest and repeat as necessary.

    I worry all the time about leaving a vehicle behind when I ride.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by lanceh
    my ipod was stolen out of my car at the lincoln drive lot last year, lower lot where the arch is, but since there was no broken window nor signs of a break-in i'm thinking it was due to an unlocked door.
    Don't count on it. My car was definitely locked, as were those belonging to my friends on the day of the Rally - and no windows were broken then either. Whomever is responsible for the break-ins knows how to defeat door locks. My guess is that they've had lots of practice.
    "mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stick
    Don't count on it. My car was definitely locked, as were those belonging to my friends on the day of the Rally - and no windows were broken then either. Whomever is responsible for the break-ins knows how to defeat door locks. My guess is that they've had lots of practice.
    I was at the parking lot up from the valley green on Saturday. Car has scratch marks on the door like someone was trying to break in. Did not make it, as everything was fine inside. Got to find another place to park. ):
    Last edited by Trajan; 07-19-2007 at 01:09 PM.

  28. #28
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    My car and a buddy's were broken into in that lot up the road from the Inn a few years ago. We're convinced the guy scoped us out as riders, knew we weren't going to be back, and went for it. We reported it and I ended up getting my cell phone back. The guy was caught snatching a purse a couple days later and I guess they found a bunch of crap in his apartment. My friend wasn't as lucky, the guy went straight to Kmart (or whatever) in Flourtown and bought some electronics with his credit card.

    That lot is bad news, in my opinion. This thread seals it. Luckily there are plenty safer places to park.

    Sometimes in shadier areas I'll head out and then once I'm out of view, I'll wait and then turn back to see if there's anything fishy going on around my car. I'd never intend to confront anyone (you never know what they'd be willing to do to you), but I'd sure as hell call the cops.

  29. #29
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    Apartment burglaries, smashed car windows... I've been through them all over the last 10 years in Philly.

    The smartest things to do when parking in the lot up from VG are: 1. Don't leave anything in plain view, including change (I've had windows smashed for $3-4 in coins downtown), and 2. Put anything of value in the TRUNK, and if you can open the trunk from the inside of the car, lock it so you can't. While trunk storage isn't a safe option in NYC, I don't think popping trunks is as prevalent in Philly. BONUS: If you've had your airbags stolen, just leave them empty like I've done since 2000.

    PS - Make an effort to keep out the (for the most part) littering scums that like to park around VG to go swimming, and I'm pretty sure the break-in rate will magically drop as well. Just a hunch.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mega T
    Put anything of value in the TRUNK, and if you can open the trunk from the inside of the car, lock it so you can't.
    Great idea. I might have thought of that, if I had a trunk.
    "mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson

  31. #31
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    Im still trying to figure out why a break-in at a park in the middle of a large city is such news....

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by dankilling
    Im still trying to figure out why a break-in at a park in the middle of a large city is such news....
    It's "news" here because:

    1. It's not a break-in, but literally dozens of break-ins (documented in this single thread alone).

    2. The victims of those dozens of break-ins have, coincidentally or not, been mountain bikers, many of whom are members of this forum.

    3. The area of the park in question is not 'in the middle' of the city. It's barely within the city limits, and is adjacent to one of the nicest and most expensive neighborhoods in said city. One would think property and city 'wage' taxes would be sufficient to keep a few extra patrolmen working overtime.

    Since Wissahickon is one of the major riding destinations in SE PA, and this is a PA mountain bike forum, how could crime affecting riders in the park (or any park users, for that matter) not be 'newsworthy' here - if only to serve as a heads-up to other forum members?
    "mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stick
    Since Wissahickon is one of the major riding destinations in SE PA, and this is a PA mountain bike forum, how could crime affecting riders in the park (or any park users, for that matter) not be 'newsworthy' here - if only to serve as a heads-up to other forum members?
    I'm actually really glad I came across this thread. I've always been cautious from experience, but my wife runs there all the time, parks in that lot, and she has mounts for a GPS and satellite radio in clear view. This was a good heads-up for me to let her know to leave all of that stuff at home if she drives there.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stick
    It's "news" here because:

    1. It's not a break-in, but literally dozens of break-ins (documented in this single thread alone).

    2. The victims of those dozens of break-ins have, coincidentally or not, been mountain bikers, many of whom are members of this forum.

    3. The area of the park in question is not 'in the middle' of the city. It's barely within the city limits, and is adjacent to one of the nicest and most expensive neighborhoods in said city. One would think property and city 'wage' taxes would be sufficient to keep a few extra patrolmen working overtime.

    Since Wissahickon is one of the major riding destinations in SE PA, and this is a PA mountain bike forum, how could crime affecting riders in the park (or any park users, for that matter) not be 'newsworthy' here - if only to serve as a heads-up to other forum members?
    Stick- I get what you are saying, but what I am getting at is after working in Philly for 7 years, it was pretty common knowledge to not leave anything of value visible in your car ANYWHERE in the general Philadelphia region. This would include VG and the Wiss. Why it seems so shocking to people here is beyond me. I dont even leave things of value in my car outside my current residence, which, by the way, is zoned rural, so you can get an idea of where I live. If a PSA is necessary because people dont have common street-smarts, so be it, I just find it crazy that there have been 2 pages of posts so far about this and that it seems like such a surprise to people. Thats all I was getting at- I am sure the cynic in you can appreciate that.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by dankilling
    I am sure the cynic in you can appreciate that.

    Sure, I can. And, 99 times out of 100 I make a very conscious effort to remove anything worth stealing from my car. The odd thing about it, from my perspective anyway, is that there was nothing to suggest that anything worth stealing was *in* my car in the first place. I locked some small items in my glovebox, and it's not like there was a sign on saying, "iPOD, Sirius receiver and docking station inside". There was no visible cash, and I took my laptop out before leaving the house (thankfully!). The only thing even remotely 'valuable' in the car (that wasn't out of sight and locked up) was my kid's gameboy in the back seat - and that wasn't stolen.

    So why break into a car and try to pry open a glovebox on the off-chance that something *might* be inside - UNLESS - you see a car with a big hitch-mounted bike rack on it and you know that people who ride in the Wiss, generally, won't be done for a couple hours?

    It's just a bit shady and, given the frequency, it seems like it shouldn't be very difficult for the police to round up the guilty party (or parties).
    "mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by dankilling
    Stick- I get what you are saying, but what I am getting at is after working in Philly for 7 years, it was pretty common knowledge to not leave anything of value visible in your car ANYWHERE in the general Philadelphia region. This would include VG and the Wiss. Why it seems so shocking to people here is beyond me. I dont even leave things of value in my car outside my current residence, which, by the way, is zoned rural, so you can get an idea of where I live. If a PSA is necessary because people dont have common street-smarts, so be it, I just find it crazy that there have been 2 pages of posts so far about this and that it seems like such a surprise to people. Thats all I was getting at- I am sure the cynic in you can appreciate that.
    Dude your not a cynic, just a dick. The posts on this thread are to inform people and vent. I had my windows busted for change that was in the closed ashtray; short of leaving my windows down with a sign that says "no radio" there is nothing that could have been done to stop someone from breaking in, other than parking there. And if someone told me that it was a bad spot to park, I would have stayed away.

    Doesn't look like anybody here is shocked just sharing info, which is what people with "street smarts" do. Just because you worked in Philly for 7 years doesn't mean ****; you ride to work on a safe train or in the protective bubble of you car and go into your secure office in Center City; why don't you take your "street smarts" for a stroll through West Philly or North Philly and see how long you last. You're better off in the burbs slinging you're ignorant opinion from behind your computer screen in your McMansion.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by justriding
    Dude your not a cynic, just a dick. The posts on this thread are to inform people and vent. I had my windows busted for change that was in the closed ashtray; short of leaving my windows down with a sign that says "no radio" there is nothing that could have been done to stop someone from breaking in, other than parking there. And if someone told me that it was a bad spot to park, I would have stayed away.

    Doesn't look like anybody here is shocked just sharing info, which is what people with "street smarts" do. Just because you worked in Philly for 7 years doesn't mean ****; you ride to work on a safe train or in the protective bubble of you car and go into your secure office in Center City; why don't you take your "street smarts" for a stroll through West Philly or North Philly and see how long you last. You're better off in the burbs slinging you're ignorant opinion from behind your computer screen in your McMansion.
    If thats how you feel...but if you knew me, knew my experiences, and knew why I am a cynic, you might feel differently. Until then, you are welcome to think I am a 'dick.' Sorry about your windows. **** happens.

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    Boken into story

    I too was broken into at the upper valley green parking lot. This was a few years ago. They didn't brake the glass (slim jim) and they only took one credit card. The only way I knew was my alarm system gave me a warning beep indicating it had been triggered. This was in the middle of the day. I called and they had spent 1100 dollars at toy stores.

    Never leave anything in the car, I would almost suggest leaving the door unlocked.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by dankilling
    If thats how you feel...but if you knew me, knew my experiences, and knew why I am a cynic, you might feel differently. Until then, you are welcome to think I am a 'dick.' Sorry about your windows. **** happens.
    Sorry man, I didn't realize you were the real deal; Emmaus is pretty rough.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by justriding
    Sorry man, I didn't realize you were the real deal; Emmaus is pretty rough.
    Actually, its pretty nice, one of the top 100 places to live according to some reports...

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