“There isn’t much room to park the car by my house, so I always left it on the street, not too far away. I have been living here for many years and it has always been a quiet area without any crime. We have never heard of a car theft on our street. I never imagined it would happen here and to me,” said the 38-year-old Fuji-Xerox technician.
“I arrived home at 5.30pm on October 28 and parked the car in the usual place, only to discover at 5.45am the next morning that it was gone. My bag with Buddha amulets, a driving licence, a bankbook and insurance documents were in the car,” said Wirat. He immediately alerted his family and neighbours, many of whom were having breakfast along the street. One told him that he had seen the car at 1am.
Wirat then went to Bang Na police station to report the loss of the Mitsubishi. “The police were helpful and expressed their sympathy, saying that car theft in the area is rising and they have increased the number of patrols there,” he said, adding that the insurance people were also very helpful.
“They asked about my background, whether I have debts, and the circumstances of the theft. They also photographed the location where the car was stolen. After that, the insurance company informed me that I could collect a cheque for 340,000 baht on December 2. I bought the car for 610,000 baht.”
Wirat suspects that a small car repair shop on Sukhumvit Road Soi 77 had something to do with the theft. “I left the car there at 11am on October 28 – one day before it was stolen – and collected it at 3pm I selected this particular shop because it is close to my office. Along with the car keys, I left another key for unlocking the anti-theft bar (that locks the pedals). Some of the workers probably copied it and followed me home,” he speculated.
He reported this to the police and the insurance company and showed them a receipt from the shop. The police didn’t go there but the insurance company did. To avoid confrontation, Wirat has been careful not to go near the shop since the theft.
Wirat plans to use part of the reimbursement as a down payment for a new Toyota Vigo. But he won’t install an electronic alarm this time because, in his opinion, it cannot stop thieves who can easily disable it. He prefers mechanical devices that lock the pedals (clutch, brake and accelerator) because they present a would-be thief with more of a challenge.
He says that such devices successfully protected the four cars he has owned in the last 20 years. Obviously they aren’t much help if the thieves are able to copy the keys to all devices, plus ignition and door lock, as he suspects was the case with his car.
Wirat has learned his lesson and offers this advice to fellow motorists: “Don’t park your car on the street overnight, do it only in a secure place. Secondly, when you service your vehicle use reputable dealers and leave them only the ignition key.”