THE ONE TIME I FILED A POLICE REPORT
If the title of today’s post might give the impression that it contains a high crime thriller story a la CSI, I unfortunately have to disappoint you. It doesn’t involve any car chase or robbery (even though our house in Germany was broken into once, but that is a whole other story), just my first (and hopefully last) visit to an American police station.
My encounter with the law enforcement happened over a year ago when I was house sitting in Playa Del Rey over Easter. I had been staying at this location many times before and never encountered any issues – until this particular visit.
The house is part of a fourplex and located a block from the beach, and parking can be very scarce, especially during spring and summer. The owners of the place I stayed at allowed me to park in one of the parking spaces behind the house, which never had given me any problems.
It was one particular night when I took the dog of the house out for a last stroll and noticed a piece of paper on the windshield of my car. I took it off, and when I unfolded it I saw a handwritten note stating that the parking spots were only for residents. I didn’t think any of it since I had the OK from one of the tenants to park there, and so I ripped the note apart and threw it away.
I forgot about the incident and kept leaving my car behind the house. Two days later, on Thursday morning I walked out to take the dog to the park, when I discovered another note on my windshield – this time around it wasn’t a very friendly one.
Since I am not planning on sticking to the same level these lovely people went to, I omit the swearwords. But what it basically stated was, “Hey a******, if you continue to f****** park here, we will make sure that your car will be towed.”
At first, I didn’t know what to think. It wasn’t until I walked to the side of my car when I noticed two long scratches along the door on the driver’s side. I could tell that they were done with a key and maliciously.
Since they appeared on the same day I received the nasty note, I was convinced that the person who wrote me the note probable also scratched my car. Needless to say, I was furious.
I didn’t want to bother the owners of the house and disrupt their vacation, so I went ahead and reached out to a couple of my friends for advice. I didn’t have any proof, just assumptions, but my friends told me to go ahead and file a police report just to be safe.
I was dreading going down to an actual police station, but I also wanted to know what my chances were (I figured probably 0%, but I went ahead anyway).
So that same afternoon, I dragged myself and my vandalized car to the police station at LAX. I was nervous walking in, imagining it would be an atmosphere you witness in the movies, with criminals in handcuffs all over the place. But, as it is with many movies and TV shows, the reality looked a little different.
In fact, I was the only person in that very small police station, and I didn’t have to wait long until one of the officers paid attention to me. He looked as bored and uninterested in my case as could be, and so I was eager to get this over with.
The officer took down all my information, gave me a copy of it, and basically reassured me what I had been thinking all along – there was not much the police could do.
I could not wait till I was able to get out of there and head back to be with the dog and just put that day behind me. Until this day, I have no proof who left me the nasty note and scratched my car, but ever since one of the neighbors moved out of the fourplex, I never experienced another issue with parking behind the house – just saying…
Anne-Kathrin Schulte is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes about her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany, she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.
If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.