Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Early last Thursday evening I left my office, trotted downstairs, and walked out to my scooter to ride home. As I passed the scooter bays, lost in my thoughts, I developed a sudden feeling that something wasn't right. I couldn't figure out what it was. I walked back the way I'd come. Was it something I'd forgotten in my office? No. I turned around and walked back to the scooter bays, and finally the feeling coalesced into an actual thought. My scooter was not where it was supposed to be.

I ran through all of the possible explanations - did I actually drive today? Did I park it somewhere else? Am I suffering from momentary scooter blindness? - before coming down with a sad little thud to the only possible explanation. It had been stolen.

It's not easy to steal a scooter. The steering is locked, it won't start without the key in the ignition, and the helmet is locked away in the seat bin. The only way to steal it would be either to use some sort of master key in the ignition, or to pick it up and carry it to a waiting ute or van. Both require a certain amount of forethought. Plus it was a sunny afternoon, in a nice suburb, in a carpark shut away behind electronic boom gates, not late at night on some ghetto street. It seemed like a lot of risk and effort for a bottom-of-the-range Piaggio Zip, but I'm not a criminal so I don't necessarily grasp their motivations.

After my boss kindly gave me a lift home, I rang the police. As is always the case when I phone the police, to report a theft or an accident or a burglary, their response was brusque. Reporting a crime means having to enter information into a database, and that smacks of effort. Of course actually investigating a crime is absolutely out of the question. I gather the police force is now little more than a useful data collection service for the insurance industry. Which is not much help to me, as it's not cost effective to insure a $1,500 scooter.

It hurts that my poor little scooter is probably in pieces by now, hacked apart in some backyard motorcycle repair shop for the value of its components. There's little chance of it being sold whole, since the thieves don't have the keys and any check of its license plate or VIN would show that it was stolen. The most logical thing for a criminal to do would be sell it for its anonymous parts. And this pains me, because it was a wonderful scooter - carefully maintained, quiet and comfortable to ride, and with tens of thousands of trouble-free kilometres still in it.

The other depressing thing is the issue of a replacement. Leaving aside the one and half thousand dollars it'll cost, Piaggio no longer make 4-stroke 50cc scooters, and second-hand ones sell very quickly. I'd forgotten that I only found mine because the previous owner had put it in the wrong section of gumtree.com.au, making it invisible to most searches. I've found a few for sale, and put out my feelers to the owners, but there has been a lot of interest in their machines, and no one has answered my texts or emails.

I find that I'm sinking deeper and deeper into sadness about it. Besides the scooter I'll also need a new helmet, new riding gloves, new sunglasses and a new garage door remote. And worst of all, once I get a replacement, there's absolutely no reason why it can't just happen again. I could chain it to a post, but let's face it, if criminals are well-prepared enough to have skeleton keys or a van standing by, they're well-prepared enough to have bolt cutters.

There's no closure, no chance of recovery, no investigation from the police and no guarantee that it won't happen again. Just me, with a big pile of work to do and money to spend to get back to where I was on Thursday morning.


Anonymous Emma said...

Oh Blanders, that sucks, that is just crap, I am really really sorry to hear about your poor lovely scooter. I hate it when things like this happen to people who do no one any harm. I am thinking of you, and feel sad too that dumb things like this take place. Emma. :(

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Troy G said...

Sorry to hear about your loss Blanders. It beggars the mind to think why people would bother to steal a scooter.

Nevertheless, it bites when something like this happens.

If it's any comfort, I managed to get hold of an mp3 of "latissima dorsical, hung-like-a-horsical, tubular boobular joy" and I've made it your identification tune on my phone.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Jeza said...

At my old soccer club we had a guy nicknamed Scooter for obvious reasons. He, like you, unfortunately had his beloved vehicle stolen upon which we realised it would be insensitive to continue calling him Scooter. As we considered a potential new name I jokingly suggested Scooterless. Scooterless left the club not long after.

3:04 PM  
Blogger MC Etcher said...

That's awful. I have to wonder if it was an inside job by building security.

I hope you find a new scooter that you love.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terrible news indeed. It's easy to get attached isn't it? I hope you find a new scooter that you grow to love.

7:59 PM  

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