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Gone in 90 Seconds in Clarendon

by ARLnow.com January 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm 3,436 55 Comments

(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) How quickly do you think your car would get stolen if you left it directly outside a 24-hour store, on the side of a busy Clarendon street, with the keys still in the door?

Try 90 seconds, according to a woman whose Mitsubishi Eclipse was stolen from outside the 7-Eleven at 3000 Washington Boulevard.

The woman, who we will call “Lucy,” said she and a companion were “in a big rush” when they ran into the store, leaving the keys hanging from the driver’s side door.

“Stupid move on our part, but it was freezing and we ran in for literally 90 seconds,” Lucy wrote in an email. “We were running late and it was a dumb mistake.”

Lucy came out of the store, saw that the car was gone and called the police. The police took a report, but have so far not been able to locate the stolen car.

“[The] good news is we’re fully insured and no one was hurt,” Lucy wrote. “Some valuables in the car, but all replaceable. No sighting by anyone on who stole the car as it probably just looked like an owner since they had the keys.”

Despite being the victim of a crime, Lucy has been able to find humor in the situation. She described her stolen two-door Mitsubishi as “a total s–t car” and noted that “we’re not upset about it… it’s actually sort of funny.”

Lucy added that she hopes others will learn from her dumb mistake.

“We just let our guard down living in the bubble of safe Arlington and want to send out a warning for others,” she wrote. “We’re city folk and only recently joined the more suburban scene (and love it). But, this was a reminder to not be idiots since crime can happen anywhere.”

  • ArlBlueSky

    “[The] good news is we’re fully insured and no one was hurt,”

    The bad news is you’re stupid.

    • Lou

      The worse news is, fools like this hurt all of our insurance rates.

      But lulz my kar is stolened. Need to buy new brown flipflops kthx

      • Westover

        Insurance is there for brain fart moments like this. Most accidents are brain fart moments yet the insurance companies still pay out.

    • Cat

      Crime…? In North Arlington…? Hide your wife, hide your kids.

  • JamesE

    An 11 year old car in Clarendon? I don’t believe this story at all.

  • Kevin

    Two people? Whatever happened to letting your passenger off while you either idle in front of the store or circle the block?

  • G

    I’m surprised the car was fully insured. I wouldn’t have paid that much for insurance for an 11 year old car.

    • Brandon C

      I have a feeling the insurance company won’t pay out a dime if they left the car open with the keys inside. There’s a certain expectation of the owner protecting the insured property and I’m pretty sure that’s grounds to refuse payment. Normally, I don’t side with the insurance industry on anything, but I’d say they’re well within their right to refuse.

      • Rover

        Bingo. She’s stupid and won’t get a dime for her stupidity.

        • Westover

          It does not work that way.

        • KalashniKEV

          Yes they can. It’s called Gross Negligence.

          The same way you can’t insure a wedding ring and leave it on the table at Starbucks and then file a claim when it’s not there when you get your coffee.

          • Westover

            That is covered too. It is not gross neglagence to leave the keys in your car. In over half the country it is considered the norm. There is not an insurance company out there that would think they could get away with denying this.

            As for the wedding ring left on a table, I actually know folks that did this and were covered. The only way the insurance company is going to get to deny thses things is if they can prove fraud.

          • KalashniKEV


            You’re not joking… are you? You must be friends with a lot of stupid people, who live in a very stupid 1/2 (?) of the United States. AND you obviously know nothing about insurance.

            Taking this to the next logical conclusion, I understand more about you and your posts- since you are obviously incapable of determining proximate cause, and fail to properly identify the responsible party. You have no sense of personal accountability.

          • G

            KalashniKEV, you are wrong on this. I have a policy for my fiancé engagement ring. If the ring is lost, stolen, or broken, it’s covered. How do you think rings are lost in the first place? People make mistakes. Accidentally leaving a ring on a coffee table is no different than losing it somewhere else. Of course, if the insurance company believes this was due to negligence they can drop her coverage, AFTER she gets paid.

          • G

            I suppose we are mixing up simple and gross negligence. “Gross” I believe is intentional, but who would admit to intentional negligence?

          • KalashniKEV

            That’s why we have Insurance Investigators. I think we are both understanding, but the “circumstances surrounding the loss” are what’s important. If a ring is worth $10K and insured at that, what’s it worth at the pawn shop? It’s a better move to “lose” it intentionally or fraudulently…

          • Westover

            KalashniKEV- I know some very smart people who do some absent minded things, a few of them are West Point grads. The very act of having insurance shows personal accountability. I know how insurance works, I know that for most things the insurance company does not get out of paying up on things covered in a policy unless actual fraud can be shown. Sounds like some folks here got their lessons on insurance from an episode of Law and Order.

          • Kalashnikev

            If the payout is high enough, and the cause of the loss involved GROSS negligence, you can bet the Insurance companies aren’t going to let themselves get scammed.

            And also, on a biographical note, I declined my appointment to the Class of ’03 for a better offer.

      • Westover

        They can not refuse on those grounds.

        • Rover

          It is the same thing as if you have a large tree die right next to the house. It sits there dead for 5 years and then falls through the roof. The fact that you did nothing to prevent the “accident” is indeed negligence and the insurance company will indeed deny the claim. They will ask why you didn’t spend the $1000 to remove the tree. You will say “I didn’t want to pay for it.” They will say “You are now going to pay $20,000 to fix the roof.”

          • Westover

            Urban Legend, unless they can show that you are an arborest.

          • Rover

            Suburban fact, Westie. Have had the conversation myself when a tree died. (Not too many huge dead trees in most urban areas for it to be Urban Legend)

          • V Dizzle

            This is covered by state law, and will vary depending on the state that this occured in. Depending on the context, you’re both wrong 🙂

  • JR

    Was she trying to have it stolen? Is this story actually about insurance fraud?

    • V Dizzle

      Sounds like fraud, so I hope it isn’t. The fair market value that she will get probably won’t come close to buying a replacement.

  • Advanced Towing

    Shhh…it was really us.

  • YTK

    The bubble of safe Arlington..ahem.

    • Sean

      Exactly! If anyone things Arlington is inherently safer than anytown, USA they should make an appointment with their doctor. They are suffering from acute cranial-rectal inversion…

      • Burger

        Is it safe when you are stupid and leave the car keys in the door.

        I hardly ever lock my car doors.

  • S. Arl Res

    $10 says it was Advanced Towing ! Their just waiting for $115.

  • Burger

    –The owner, who we will call “Lucy,” said she and a companion were “in a big rush” when they ran into the store, leaving the keys hanging from the driver’s side door.–

    Why would she even bother locking her doors, especially on a POS 1999 Eclipse. If she had just not locked the door and walked in with her keys her car would still be there.

    She is just dumb.

  • G

    I don’t understand why some of you are calling this woman “dumb” and “stupid”. It was an ACCIDENT. I’m sure she didn’t consciously say to herself, “I think it would probably be a good idea to leave my keys in the door.”

    • Westover


    • Burger

      She is dumb.

      She parked her car. Took her keys out of the ignition. Got out of the car. She turned around and closed the car door. She then inserted her keys into the car door lock and presumably locked the door. She then walked away.

      Oh, yeah, this is for an 11 year old car with a blue book value of maybe 1500.

      she deserves to be made fun of for locking the doors.

  • Stanley

    Leaving the keys in the door of a car in a 7/11 parking lot – that’s not theft.

    Years ago some pta parent went screaming about the theft of bikes in N arlington. Turns out the kids had left there bikes unlocked in a park. That’s not theft. That’s stupidity.

    Another parent recently screamed about the theft of a bag of old smelly sports equipment from the car. Only there was no break in, and no one can confirm where the bag was last seen (was it left on the field????).

    It is really difficult to cry “wolf” in the form of “theft” when the owner of property will not take the simplest of precautions. It leads to silly police actions (like WMATA bag searches) that have no correlation to safety or risks.

    Finally, yes, Arlington and particularly N Arlington are relatively crime free. One of the many attributes that makes Arlington great (that should not be marred by stupidity).

    • Westover

      Take something that it not yours, it is theft. Next time someone is killed by an intruder will you say they should have paid for a steel front door?

      The making everyone out to be a victim in this society is ridiculous, but so is trying to blame the victim every time. She admits she was dumb to leave the keys in the car, but on a cold day like yesterday who would ever think that a car thief would be on the prowl.

      Like you point out, crime is relatively low here, getting your car swipped is not what is normally expected.

      • Rover

        Leaving the car door unlocked and/or windows open while you go inside is trusting that your car won’t be stolen in a supposedly low crime area. Leaving the keys in the ignition and leaving the car unattended in any area is just plan STUPID. She didn’t get what she deserved. Doubt they will cover her stupidity. Even if they did, after decuctable, how much could she possibly get reimbursed for a “total s–t” Mitsubishi??? Nothing probably.

        • NomNom

          She left the keys hanging from the driver’s side door for everyone to see. I think that is a one-up on stupid from leaving them in the ignition. Even though this is a 1999 POS, I still find it hard to believe that the car doesnt have a keyless entry system. Add another point to stupidity if it did and she still left them hanging out the door. What kind of rush is there that requires two people to leave the car and go into 7-11? The more I think about it the more I think this girl and her companion were stoned. Cottonmouth and the munchies are the only reason hat would cause a rush into 7-11. Add that to the fact you forgot your keys in the door, and you dont care that the car was stolen. Lucy must of just hit the bong.

          • Lou

            This is why we can’t have nice things.

  • C.J.

    So would this happen to be related to the car that hit a power line on Wilson right around the same time?????

  • Ballstonian
  • Jobo

    If her housekeys were on the keyring she should also get her door locks changed. If the registration was in the glovebox or there was mail in the car the thief could get the address and use the key and walk right in.

    • Rover

      Great point. While she was doing an interview, the car theif was robbing her place.

    • KalashniKEV

      I think it was probably just easier than putting an ad on Craigslist.

      This HAS to be an insurance scam.

  • KalashniKEV

    I’ll bet the Bums in Courthouse Metro are having a Soup Kitchen in it right now… 🙂

  • fluidj

    That car was not stolen, it was donated.

  • Cyrus

    “stolen from outside the 7-Eleven at 3000 Washington Boulevard.”

    That’s gonna end up being a very expensive slushy.

  • John Fontain

    I’m not buying her version of events. She takes time to put keys in the door to lock it, but then is “too rushed” to perform the simple, split-second act of pulling the key out of her door as she walks away from the car? No offense, but this is either a fabrication or we may have a Darwin award to give away.

    • Westover

      Hate to admit it, but with two young kids I do it with my front door at home a little too often.

  • G

    I’ve locked my keys in my running car before. Alright bring on the insults…

  • Mittendorf

    Commentators are so judgmental. I can’t believe that you are so perfect that you don’t have a brain fart every once in a while. She admitted it. Why are people so quick to attack others personally?

    • local

      I personally don’t fart through my brain.

  • Andrew

    We’re the fifth richest county in the nation, OF COURSE there will be crime. I recall this exhange between John Dillinger and an FBI agent.

    Agent: “John, why do you rob banks?”

    Dillinger: “Because that’s where the money is!”

  • ArlBlueSky

    Did “Lucy” pay personal property tax on her Illinois tagged car?

    From this weeks police report:

    STOLEN AUTO 01/22/11 IL 4994506 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse, gray 3000 block of Washington Boulevard

  • imaginaryfriend

    Who locks their car using the keys in the outside lock? Even in 1965 people could push down a little tab and then shut the door, which, btw, is much faster for those in a hurry.


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