By on February 9, 2018

Image: Ford

A few years ago, I decided to have a heart-to-heart talk with my little brother, the artist currently known as Bark M., about something that had always puzzled me.

“Dude,” I asked, “why did you quit being a performing musician? You were making halfway decent money, you were on the road all the time, you were playing music that you loved, you were hooking up with a different college girl every night. Why would you leave all of that behind and manage a Men’s Wearhouse, for Christ’s sake?” Bark gave me this very sour look and replied, “I got sick of being in a van.”

I had to laugh, because at that point it made perfect sense. I’ve never met anybody else who is as picky as my brother when it comes to travel. Take this past weekend for example. I was on a two-stop Southwest flight that ended up taking ten and a half hours in the air to get me from Oakland to Columbus; he was on a nonstop from LAX to Cincinnati. When I finally landed after my back-of-coach-class ordeal I found that he’d been on Instagram complaining about the quality of his Delta One meal service. If ever there was a man who would give up dating a new 19-year-old every weekend night just so he didn’t have to ride in a van, it would be Bark.

Don’t tell him, but there’s now a company that rents first-rate, brand-new vans to traveling musicians so they can enjoy all the comforts of home while they travel. The company is called Bandago and it’s based in San Francisco. These vans have leather recliners, video games, and giant flatscreens. If you had a touring band, you’d never want to give your “Bandago” back. If you were renting your Bandago so you could perpetrate some crime with a crew of miscreants, you would also not want to give your Bandago back. Which leads us to a real San Francisco treat of a story.

Sharky Laguana — yes, that’s his name — was part of the band Creeper Lagoon before he became the CEO of Bandago. He’s pretty much the prototype of a “woke CEO”, with a Twitter profile that includes a “blessing for his son” written after a “bad experience with a riptide.” He works in activist causes and uses his vans to transport donated food. In other words, he ain’t exactly Travis Kalanick. Still, if the old saying about a conservative being a post-mugging liberal is true, Sharky is probably taking stock of his life right now. His Twitter thread about a stolen van went viral yesterday. I’ve excerpted the relevant parts below.

Last month a lady named Linda rented a van from us for a few days. It was due back on January 31st. It didn’t come back. Instead, the next day, a guy we’ve never heard of called and asked to extend the rental… a month! This isn’t normal.

We know from experience this is very suspicious. We told them to bring the van back right away. He said they would be back the next morning. We knew that was unlikely. We were right. The next day came and went with no sign of the van.

Now at this point you have people, probably using stolen IDs, likely using the vehicle to commit more crimes, in a van that is past due. So we should call the police, right? Wrong! The police are *not allowed* to even take a report yet. We have some hoops to jump through first.

So first we have to wait for the vehicle to be five days past due. Then we have to send a certified letter to the address on the contract. Then we have to wait for the letter to either be signed, or returned as undeliverable.

Once we have the letter we can go file a claim for embezzlement. NOT stolen car, even though the vehicle has been stolen. It’s embezzlement which is far lower on police priority scale. And we can’t call the report in either. We have to go in person to the station.

We have to have all original docs including the returned certified letter., title, reg etc. No digital copies. Everything original. Then we have to fill out the paperwork at the station while they run a warrant check on our ID. Yes that’s right: we get investigated first.

Then the license plate is in the system and maybe we get lucky and a police officer notices the van and runs the plate, but we don’t get a dedicated detective or anything. It’s simply a flag in the system.

So today we got our certified letter back. Meanwhile we’ve been running a skip trace on this person and they are, as you might expect, bad news. It’s been a week, that van could be anywhere, even Mexico. It takes a while to file a police report, so we decide to go tomorrow.

This is where the story gets crazy: I’m driving back from a dental appointment just before 5pm and notice I’m right behind one of our vans. Thinking they are returning I call the office to give them a heads up and holy shit it’s the stolen van! Here’s a pic I took while following

The odds of this happening at rush hour are about 1:450,000. But it happened, so I follow the van until it parks in Portola. Sales manager @TheDavidElrod hops in a Lyft and meets me while I’m staking it out.

While we are waiting I call the police. “Hey can you send an officer to come meet us at San Bruno & Bacon, we have a stolen rental van”
“Has it been reported stolen? What’s the case#”
“Uh, no not yet, but it meets all the criteria, we have all the docs with us”

The dispatcher isn’t sure if they can help, but after failing to reach a sergeant on the other line she *reluctantly* agrees to send a car to come meet us.
So we wait.
And wait.
The driver goes in to pick up some Korean food.
We wait some more.
After about an hour I call the dispatch to see if there’s an ETA. Nope there isn’t even a car dispatched yet.
We wait some more.
Then the driver gets back in the van and we start following them from a safe distance while I call the police again.

I tell the police we’re following a stolen van. This seems to get some attention at first, but after asking more questions and learning it’s a rental they start slow walking. We have a trainee on the phone and his supervisor is right there telling him what to do.

The supervisor gets a hold of the sergeant, and I can hear her asking for permission to disconnect. They want to end the call. And then I get a call on the other line. It’s the sergeant, I think. He never introduced himself.

I answer: “Hello?”
It’s in caps because he was kinda yelling. I know there’s no point in arguing about this.
“OK I understand, thank you”
Click. He hangs up.

OK now what do we do? Well shit we have the keys. It’s our van. Let’s follow, wait for them to leave, and we’ll just drive it away.
So we follow them. First it goes down to 9th where it makes a left. We speculate it’s going to the Tenderloin.

But they drive up Hayes, and eventually turns on Fillmore and parks in front of some housing projects. We watch a guy get out and go to a dark parking lot where he meets someone else in a car. We can’t see what he’s doing. There are other people in the van still. Can’t grab it. Then the guy comes back and stands around outside the van smoking a cigarette. At one point he’s about five feet from us and even looks at us which makes us nervous. We debate whether we could call in suspicious activity to the police, but worry we’d get in trouble somehow.

Eventually he gets back in the van. They leave. We follow them to the Mission. They go to a gas station and we discreetly watch from across the street. Then they go to the corner of 17th & Mission and park in front of a fire hydrant.

There is no parking in the Mission at night. We’re forced to drive past, but get lucky and find a spot at 17th & Valencia. We can see the van in the rear view mirror. @TheDavidElrod gets out to see what they are doing. We learn there are three people inside.

While David is scoping them out a police officer drives by. His passenger window is down. I decide to try one last time to get some assistance. I jump out of the car and walk over to him:
“Excuse me officer, I might need your help, do you have a minute?”
He directs me to the police station across the street and says he’ll meet me in the lobby.
I wait in the lobby for 15 minutes.
He comes out and asks questions. I’m very upfront about it being a rental car. He goes back inside to ask the sergeant questions.
Then he comes back out.
“We can’t help you without a stolen vehicle report”
“But it qualifies as embezzled, can I file a report right now?”
“Do you have all the original paperwork with you on your person?”
“I have PDFs on my phone”
“Sorry, come back tomorrow”
He’s nice and sympathetic. This is just the protocol he has to follow.
I go back to the car and meet Dave.
We’re pissed, might never see this van again.

We come up with a plan.

It’s risky.
We walk up to the van, smiling, looking friendly.
We motion the driver to roll down the window.
I’m hanging back a couple feet. Don’t want to be scary or threatening. She rolls the window down.
David: “Are you Linda?”
Linda: “Why are you asking?”
“Hi, I just filed a stolen vehicle report at the police station right there”
(I point at the police station.)
They are coming, if you are still here you’ll be arrested. If you take off in the van they’ll just arrest you down the street, but if you leave now it’ll be chill”
We are bluffing. But we caught them off guard. They discuss for a second and then say “OK”.
David asks for the keys, she hands it to him.
Then we watch them unpack all their stuff. Tons of luggage. They were living in the van.
SanFinally they got all their shit out and left. David got in the van, and I got in the car and drove home.
SF is having an explosion of car break-ins right now. Lt. Luke Martin head of the crime task force told me they are often using rental cars as getaway vehicles.

When mayoral candidate Jane Kim responded to Sharky’s tweet, some SF locals got involved in the situation. Triggered by Sharky’s offhand comment that the perpetrators of the van theft were “living in the van,” they decided that a law-and-order approach just wouldn’t do. After all, if someone steals your van and starts living in it… that’s their home now!

This isn’t a story about stealing a van… it’s a story about lack of housing! And when Sharky managed to get his property back despite a complete and utter lack of interest on the part of the SFPD, he was actually evicting its legitimate tenants! In a city where meter enforcement is also called “eviction,” surely the whole situation is up for grabs. Or maybe it’s just further proof of something else my brother told me about living in a van: “You don’t want to live in a van… with anybody who is actually willing to live in a van.”

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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101 Comments on “San Francisco Business Owner Defies Police To Get His Van Back, Is Lectured By Local Moonbats...”

  • avatar

    You got some teens on the mind eh Jack?

    The first part of the piece comes across as more than a bit greasy lol

    -signed, not a mouth-gaping Nintendo-Switch-playing “nu-male”

  • avatar

    Sharky Laguna sounds like a drink special FWIW.

    lol – reminds me of one of my colleagues (principal) who was the laid back hipster type, craft micro-brews, riding the bike everywhere, metrosexual lumberjack beard, long hair, etc…

    Somebody stole his bicycle – he hopped in a buddies truck and drove around until they found the guy riding away on it. After a violent confrontation he got his bike back. Given that the thief was a vagrant, not police involvement ever happened.

  • avatar

    Wow, quite the ordeal to get a stolen van back that happens to be a rental turned low income housing. It’s interesting that the social engineering ploy worked out in the end.

  • avatar

    And this is why California is turning into a terrible place to live, or even visit. So if this were me, after getting the runaround from the cops, I would have gone up to the vehicle, that is rightfully mine, armed to the teeth with 5-10 people, and taken it back. It’s just what you do when your property, which was earned by your time and effort, is taken.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d be willing to bet $20 that this dude is backed by VCs, and it isn’t his money being put up. Who cares if its somebody that the loss amounts to a rounding error? They sure won’t shed any tears for the people they overwork when this startup goes belly up, and they write a “It just didn’t work out” Medium post.

      • 0 avatar

        MZR, a”rounding error”? So you know the company that well?

        I’m sorry for the family that lost their house. Good thing they don’t live near me, if it had a LoJack or other tracking device on it, the last thing anybody around here would do is call the cops.

        • 0 avatar

          Well, at a minimum, it’s a company with 10 national locations, and from Google StreetView and satellite, it looks like most locations have about 10-15 vans on site. We could pretty reasonably extrapolate that they’ve easily got a 300+ fleet (assuming 50% UT). Not to say they deserve whatever happens to them, but they’re also at a level where it’s an asset as opposed to some prized possession to start enacting vigilante justice over.

    • 0 avatar

      And if someone got shot/killed during the confrontation, that’s just “collateral damage”? Even if it was one YOUR friends? Company property (he’s running a rental agency, it’s not HIS ride) ain’t worth dying over. At least for me.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s just what you do when your property, which was earned by your time and effort, is taken.

      Hi, Mr. Simpson.

    • 0 avatar

      Aaaand yet another reason to run that wall up the Nevada state line…

      Seriously though, I’ve read where if your car’s stolen and you find it later, you can get in trouble if you carjack YOUR OWN CAR.

      How’s that just?

    • 0 avatar

      We get it – earned, time effort. Sharky is smart – he made a good move – you should try to be more like him, but it takes time and effort.

  • avatar

    Yes, the response comments are fair game and your insistence that this story is and should only be about Sharky’s stolen van betrays what makes your own routine writing good.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Can you elaborate on this?

      Should this be treated as a housing dispute? As a case of rightful appropriation by the people?

      I am absolutely willing to concede my own perspective here. In Ohio we would call this “stealing a van”.

      • 0 avatar

        Growing up in the rural NW corner of Ohio I believe my Dad would have sighed and said: “Where’s my 12 gauge and my ammunition?”

      • 0 avatar

        In Afghanistan, we would drag these people out of the van, cut their right wrist off and they would live rest of their life in shame. This is why we don’t lock our doors. There is no need for it. Shame from not having a wrist is bigger than pain.

      • 0 avatar

        You have to use your US Justice system to PRK Justice system decoder ring.

        SHARKY: Magic 8-ball, was my van actually stolen or not?
        8BALL: All signs point to no.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, they didn’t legally steal the van. And I suppose the owner did not really break the law by lying about the police. But that doesn’t matter that much.

        The point is, a story about an individual is not just about that individual, it’s about the cord that it strikes. At the end of the day, we don’t really, honestly care about Sharky, but what about his represents.

        Your take is that this story represents an assault to private property, exacerbated by a police force rendered ineffective by budget cuts and/or liberal legalese.

        My take is, if enough of these stories happen because of a social problem – homelessness – then it is fair game to see the social problem in the individual circumstance. That is my interpretation of what happened in the comments, and your problem with it.

        The comments might of course have jumped the gun, and the commentators might of course be liberal snowflakes. Still, my point holds.

        EDIT: oh no, Sharky is in the right here. We can’t expect individuals to sacrifice for solving social problems. But, we CAN talk about those problems via individual stories. Hope I’m making sense.

      • 0 avatar

        You don’t thank a 19 year old girl that rapes you, you frickin’ MARRY her! Damn if I had it to go back.

      • 0 avatar
        Tele Vision

        Long one but here it comes:

        Back in the late 80’s my friend’s Dad bought an apartment building down on 17th Ave. in Calgary. 16 suites, no elevator, staircases fore and aft. A family from another country moved in and were the best tenants he’d had. Another similar family moved in, and another. Some residents began complaining about smells and harassment but nothing was proven. These residents eventually moved out. More families moved in, all paying the rent in full and on time. When the building was full of these ‘families’ the shit started: They all stopped paying rent at the same time. Instead of trying to change the locks on the front and rear doors they simply changed the doors. They bricked-up the lobby windows and ran a padlocked chain across the parking lot. After a year of cops and lawyers and translators ( as suddenly none of the residents spoke English ) my friend’s Dad regained control of the building. The squatters had tunnelled not only between apartments on the same floor – they’d chopped holes in ceilings and floors, too. In a concrete building. They played the system and, for a year, won. They were all – hundreds of them – eventually evicted and left my friend’s Dad with a destroyed building that he couldn’t sell without major repairs.

        These kind of people are out there. Everywhere.

      • 0 avatar

        “in Ohio we would call this “stealing a van””

        No. The law (including the police) would not. It would be considered a contractual dispute and a civil matter until all evidence proved otherwise…even in Ohio.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes. If you gave them a key and your blessing to drive the van away, they weren’t stealing it. Sorry.

          I have a neighbor who I hoped would be able to locate and let in building contractors to do a remodel for my house, so I wouldn’t have to take time off work letting them in and making sure they were doing what they were supposed to do. I paid my neighbor a deposit. He diddled around for a couple of months and finally I told him to stop and refund my deposit. He said he would, a little at a time, but never paid back any of it. Sadly, this was a contract dispute in the eyes of the police, the police would not get involved. I’d have to go take him to court and get a judgement, and then go to court again to get an order to garnish his wages or assets, and then he’d have to have wages or assets to seize. Being a vigilante is not my thing, so I chalked it up as an expensive lesson.

          Be glad you chanced to find the van, and able to bully the occupants into giving it up. It might have easily turned out that they had guns and you might have frightened them into using them.

  • avatar

    I can understand the idea that if you voluntarily hand somebody your property and they don’t give it back when you think your contract says they should, the police are going to treat it more like a business dispute (at least at the beginning) than stolen property. I think the idea there is the police want you to vet the people you give your property to better vs. them being an on-demand force of armed repo men.

    There’s a limited number of police resources available, and ACTUAL stolen vehicles are definitely going to get much higher priority than late-rental-returns.

    Yes, turning this into an affordable-housing story was stupid, but that doesn’t change the overall problem of expectations this guy seems to have for law enforcement.

    • 0 avatar

      So its perfectly okay to steal a vehicle, if you just rent it first. Awesome.

      Nice to know it isn’t ACTUALLY a stolen item when you keep something that isn’t yours.

      • 0 avatar

        I didn’t say it was okay to steal a vehicle. I don’t know how you’d get that from my comment. It’s just that if it’s just a little late, it’s a business dispute, not a crime.

        Eventually it does become theft, but the hoops to jump through to prove that’s what is happening make sense. If your vehicle disappears from your driveway, that’s unambiguously theft. If you had your keys to somebody else for them to borrow your vehicle, and they don’t come back on time, there’s a certain amount of time before that actually becomes a crime.

      • 0 avatar

        Wow, way to misinterpret the comment.

        You want the cops to drop everything and chase some guy who is 2 days late returning a chainsaw from A-Z Rentals down like some drug dealer? Sure, bust out the spike-strips, have him crash into something, do $10k damage to his car, get hurt, etc, over a $250 item? Serves him right!

        Glad they showed some restraint. First, anyone could fake a document or two on their phone and lead them on a wild goose chase. Great way to distract the cops when your accomplices are ACTUALLY taking down a bank or something. This wasn’t outright stolen, and I’m sure there were late charges accruing that the owner could have gone after in court (and eventually, probably some kind of insurance). After all, it seems that Linda was STILL driving the van. I’m not advocating being soft on crime, but there’s also priorities in any large metropolis. Just part of the territory.

        I get the DESIRE to exact one’s own revenge, but that almost NEVER turns out well.

        • 0 avatar

          “You want the cops to drop everything and chase some guy who is 2 days late returning a chainsaw from A-Z Rentals down like some drug dealer?”

          No, but when someone flags down an officer on street patrol to ask for assistance with a situation occurring literally around the corner they should at least check it out.

          • 0 avatar

            Maybe corporate business plans shouldn’t overly leverage public assets after creating intentionally risky structures?

            You know this feels much more like “Slumlord abuses the real estate courts” than it feels like a Law and Order issue.

            First and foremost a business should not have part of its business plan to leverage public assets, that’s how “Tragedy of the Commons” happens.

            That said there also has to be process so we don’t have people leading beat cops around by their nose and not doing their patrols.

            The whole point of process is so that emergencies get triaged and ongoing crimes can be handled properly.

          • 0 avatar

            “No, but when someone flags down an officer on street patrol to ask for assistance with a situation occurring literally around the corner they should at least check it out.”

            Which is just what the officer did, and when the nature of the situation became clear, the officer, per policy regarding unreturned rental property, said that he couldn’t help just then.

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah, you want revenge, you gotta use the legal system.

          Which is sorta like revenge, but with the sense of satisfaction removed.

        • 0 avatar

          “priorities in any large metropolis” are very often extremely good reasons to absent oneself as far as possible from said large metropolis.

    • 0 avatar

      The real revenge would be, wait until these people go to sleep. set the van on fire, collect insurance. Criminals punished, van paid for. Justice served.

  • avatar

    I just read a story how people run away from bay area. And hopefully, soon only criminals will remain and cops will change their attitudes as they will be damn busy.

  • avatar

    And some people want the government running every facet of their lives. Good grief.

  • avatar

    Not sure if that police protocol applies to places other than kalifornia but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were unique to the state and city. I was waiting for the police to turn on the van owner for unlawfully evicting squatters once he let it slip that they were living in the van. How inconsiderate of him.

  • avatar

    I hope the van owners (aka landlords) get arrested for improperly evicting the renting residents of their van. Don’t they know they have to give the renters 3 months notice of eviction, but only after 3 consecutive months of failure to pay the monthly rent, and filing a form 2735 (3 copies) to the local public housing office and getting a court order for eviction (typical court date wait of 6 months and court cost of $2,500 must be paid first). Thus the van “renters” were denied between 6 and 12 months of legal housing by the unlawful eviction by the landlords – I hope they get the book thrown at them – how dare they think such property actually belongs to them!!!

  • avatar

    SJW’s can spin just about any story in SF to be about housing and tech.

    • 0 avatar

      SJW’s can spin just about any story in SF to be about housing and tech.

      1000x this.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s easy to mold something stupid like this into whatever dumb-a** political worldview you hold. For every “SJW moonbat” making this into a homelessness issue, there’s a “rock-ribbed right winger gun owner” who will think something like this…

      “Well, if more folks in San Francisco carried guns, these guys would never have camped out in this guy’s van.”

      I guarantee you someone, somewhere was thinking exactly this when he read this story. No accounting for stupidity.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      I’ve found more than a few people can spin *anything* to rock their particular hobbyhorse.

    • 0 avatar

      SJWs, being dumb and gullible by definition are, as always, simply being used as pawns. The tech guys are getting just as much the short stick as anyone else in the Bay Area right now. The ones playing the gullible, predictably well indoctrinated SJWs like fiddles; the usual gaggle of expendable ambulance chasers, banksters/”investors”, real estate racketeers, politicians, along with the traditional idle and incompetent rich; are doing so for the express purpose of getting at the resources the tech guys are creating, as the tech guys are pretty much the only ones left creating any value anymore.

      So the leeches, as always incapable of producing a lick of value on their own, are setting themselves up as a protection racket, supposedly “protecting” the “poor” from the “mean techies.”

      Never mind the “techies” have never invented, rarely supported and certainly never enforced, a zoning law banning a single housing unit from ever being built. Pretty much the entire tech class, wants nothing more than a complete free for all to build and innovate in housing, with no more involvement from useless, expendable leeches with nothing to contribute at all beyond grubby fingers and self righteousness, than Linus faced in the early days of Linux.

      The techies are stuck wasting hours of their most productive period commuting back and forth to shoddy roach motels, where their kids are suffering from mold exposure, inability to concentrate due to noise, and simply a barrage of annoyances due to lack of available housing-per-dollar, taking their concentration away from doing what they simultaneously want to do and are good at. For no other reason than to use government to artificially enrich a bunch of expendable trash who never have, never will, build, design, create nor contribute a single lick of value to anything nor anyone.

      But of course, simply being an SJW, definitionally makes one too dumb to figure that one out. Instead prompting them to jump around like windup stooges, for the abject nothings telling them what to do and whom to “blame,” for something they are too dumb to even bother making an attempt at understanding.

  • avatar

    There’s always an idiot who wants to blame a basic crime on (insert pet social issue that fits your political worldview here).

  • avatar

    Once it becomes a “Civilian Dispute” Cops want no part of it. I once had custom body work done. The Body Guy quoted me one price and then charged me twice of what he quoted. He held my car in his lot under lock and key. I called the cops and the cops told me they don’t deal in “Civilian Disputes.” If I wanted my car back, I could sue him. Eventually he came down on price and I got my car back after I threatened him with a lawsuit. In this case you would think the Cops would consider this theft. However they look at it as Breach Of Contract which falls under a “Civilian Dispute.”

    • 0 avatar

      The police are there to protect themselves first and then the public. I’m not only referring to physical safety.

    • 0 avatar

      Tell cops that the guy came to you and wanted to buy your car. You din’t want to sell. He pulled a gun and took it. They will be interested now

    • 0 avatar

      The entertainment media have created in the public’s mind the idea that police can and will resolve property crimes like this. The fact is that the police are NOT going to address such crimes until it’s clear that there is pattern being repeated. In the meantime it is assumed by them that you should have insurance and you should file a claim. They are only going respond quickly to violent crimes.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s “civil” not civilian. It’s not theft as you willingly gave this guy your car to work on. It is in reality a breach of contract, there’s no laws being broken, just what they told you worked…take him to court & when you threatened him with that he gave your car back

  • avatar

    My anecdotal experience is that of the roughly 12-15 police officers I’ve interacted with over the last decade in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties (I’m not including traffic stops – only non-traffic phone or face to face interaction), only 2 or 3 made any attempt to assist on what I was asking for help. Those 2 or 3 did a great job. The others…. they would have probably made better fork lift operators or managers of warehouses full of boxes.

    There are helpful cops…. they just appear to be a small minority.

  • avatar

    It’s a good thing the van wasn’t inhabited by illegal aliens.The City of S.F. would have registered them to vote and let them stay in the van 90 days before evicting them.

  • avatar

    This story reminds me of the dystopian future portrayed in Altered Carbon.

  • avatar

    I thought this story was going to be about bands and their vans. I guess it’s not relevant then to mention the band I once knew that used to drive their decrepit old van between Toronto and Ottawa during the winter with at least one roadie crammed in between the amps etc. and the back doors. Economics and pecking order made that normal.

  • avatar

    Mudhoney played a gig on the Lower East Side and then they crashed at some junkie’s apartment. The next day they found their van had been broken into, there were homeless people wandering around the neighborhood wearing “Mudhoney” t-shirts.

  • avatar

    Sharky Laguna sounds like an awesome alias, the second best I have heard this year.

    The best was one of Miss Cleo’s: Corvette Mama.

    Call for me free readin’ taday!

  • avatar

    I’m surprised that Sharky didn’t have a LoJack installed in the van. Next time get the repo man involved or have one on the payroll, sooner or later this will happen.

    San Francisco, I lived there in my late teens early 20s, the “politicians” were always trying to be more “liberal” than each other to get on the news headline. It is hard to do business there. Imagine if an SFPD officer “evicted” the “homeless” from their “affordable housing” and it became “news” and the sheriff has to deal with it?

  • avatar

    Bark M. was misinformed. There is no Delta One (i.e., business class) service LAX-CVG, only standard domestic first class.

  • avatar

    Hasn’t Bandago planned for losses? What will they do if one of their vans is totaled by someone with no insurance, no assets and negligible income?

    I’m not surprised by the SFPD’s failure to respond. A guy in my city lost a vehicle to theft. It was a real theft, properly reported to the police, not an overdue rental or loaner. By chance, the guy came across his vehicle in traffic. He followed it and called 911 for the police to pick up the thief. The operator told him that the police would not respond and that he should stop following.

    You can get into serious trouble for keeping a rental vehicle beyond the return date without notifying the rental company. After a few days, they will report it as stolen. If you are stopped for some reason, the officer will learn this when he runs the license plate. He will then arrest you for auto theft.

  • avatar

    Jeez it hurts me to type this, but this is an example of the SFPD doing everything right. They are not a free repo service. They are not a free armed escort while you repo without training & equipment. They are not an end run around small claims court. If the rental co. had followed procedure, proven a vehicle had been taken for a reasonable period beyond the agreed time and they actually owned it (all presented as an unreasonable burden on Sharky), and the vehicle had been in the attention of an officer he would have had the vehicle seized. I’m glad for everyone that the social engineering worked out. I am not defending the stupid posts of either slant, just saying that a PD I have no love for did the right thing.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. Well said 05lgt.

      Definition of theft

      1 a : the act of stealing; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it
      b : an unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property

  • avatar

    Even though my insurance totaled it out, I’m glad a police officer cared enough about my stolen motorcycle to wrestle the thief off of it after pulling him over.

    Exhibiting a lack of interest in enforcing the law, especially when there is no work to be done, is inciting vigilantism. I think we would all be happier if police actually took care of situations like this rather than letting individuals sort it out.

  • avatar
    Norman Yarvin

    It sounds like there are decent odds that everything would have gone fine if the company had agreed in the first place to let the couple extend the rental by a month. Of course it’s the company’s right to be a hardass, but exercising that right isn’t always the best way of doing business. It’s their call, of course, but others can wonder about it. Obviously their worst fears didn’t pan out: the van didn’t disappear to Mexico or get used in a crime spree. And would someone who would do either of those things really be the sort of person who would call and ask for a month’s extension?

  • avatar

    I’m sure the response would be much more timely if the call went along the lines of “I have a car thief at gunpoint.”

  • avatar

    Last time I checked, metropolitan California is the place where criminals are actually the victims and the appropriation of private property is really just morally superior redistribution of wealth because, like, they need it more than you do.

  • avatar

    “That’s why I didn’t report it stolen. I didn’t want to answer any ticklish questions about how I got it back.”

  • avatar

    I’d probably just call a tow truck and pick the thing up…

  • avatar

    There sure is a lot going on in this one. I spent 5 years earlier in my life as a 911 operator and police dispatcher/file clerk and boy does some of this take me back. My state differentiated between “stolen vehicle” and “failure to return borrowed vehicle.” People get super pissed when you tell them that the car they willing handed the keys over for isn’t stolen.

    As for police response time, there’s a finite number of cops and a whole lot of calls for service just about anywhere, and San Fran is likely no different. We had a law about police response to domestic disturbances, because this one time a cop went out and told a couple to behave without taking a report and later that night the old boy strangled her to death. Therefore, we were legally obligated to send officers to ANYTHING that the caller characterized as a domestic dispute before any property crime. Also, our officers had to arrest or remove the “instigating party” if they wouldn’t willing leave the residence. Sort of a mandatory cooling off.

    Lastly, this twerp is in the business of renting out vans. Insuring his property is a cost of doing business. Buddy, just write this crap off in the future.

    Not even going to comment on California/San Francisco bureaucracy, but will say that it’s often only slightly better out here in deplorable country. Still glad I don’t live there though.

    • 0 avatar
      The ultimate family-friendly hybrid vehicle is finally here.

      For some reason the tightly-wound political extremists would rather paint with a broad brush and (in one case) make this a country on just 49 states, instead of pausing a moment to consider this situation rationally.
      Of course the van owner feels irate, and he’s being taken advantage of, but the police have to follow correct procedures. If the lowlifes in possession of the van are arrested, the DA would not prosecute them for vehicle theft if the van hadn’t been reported stolen yet. The delays make it easier to put hundreds of miles between the van and the rental office, but many late rental returns get resolved during the five day period.
      There’s a lot to fix in this situation. Unfortunately, what needs to be fixed (the greed, selfishness and stupidity of the van’s occupants) is likely never to be taken care of.

  • avatar

    Great story anyway, Jack. Thanks.

  • avatar

    I’ve lived in SF for 4 years now. What the owner experienced isn’t particularly shocking. That the SFPD are some of the absolutely worst and useless cops out there isn’t much of a surprise. Just look at the crime rates. They’re high and not all of it is due to the city hall’s idiotic policies. I’ve been a victim of thefts several times myself (my cars got broken into) and the cops don’t do diddly squat other than collect your report. One guy got caught but he was a drug addict and it was more of an coincidence.

    As for the housing part – meet the San Francisco commies. I was born in a communist country but it wasn’t until I moved to SF that I realized how much I hate communists. And the SF/CA closet commies are the worst. I just hope one day we get a mayor who is not a commie and he’ll clean this place up Giuliani-style.

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