Theft and Deception.

By 20:45 , , ,

This morning, I experienced my first firsthand experience with theft in São Paulo. A lot of my friends have told me about how they've had cell phones, money, etc. stolen a number of times, and I am careful when I circulate the city to steer away as best I can from facing this sort of thing, but at the same time, I'm also mindful that it could happen to me anytime as well.

My roommate Bruno went away for the weekend and left his car with his coworker who I happen to be dating, Fabio, so that we could pick him up from the airport tonight (Sunday) and so that we would use the car to go out with my brother (since Fabio has a single cab pickup).

The idea was to drive Bruno's car back to our house last night, but since Fabio had left it in front of his building for the past two nights and nothing had happened to it and it was pouring rain last night, we ended up leaving it at Fabio's house and this morning I was going to pick it up and bring it home with me.

When I get to the car early this morning, I go to open the door and see it's already open. Inside, the car's a mess, there's a bottle of Smirnoff Ice thrown on the passenger seat, the back seat turned over, and the stereo and rest of the dashboard... gone. I look back at the door and there's a hole in the front window where someone had thrown something (probably the bottle) to break into the car.

My heart stops and I go towards Fabio who's in his car in front of Bruno's (I was going to follow him home since my confidence to drive stick shift cars is still close to zero - hence not driving it home in the rain last night, lol), and say "the door's open and the radio's gone." His usually brightly lit face goes pale and I could tell that inside he was already blaming himself for it. He was on his way to a soccer game and so we decided I would still drive the car home and we would report it all once Bruno got back. On the way home, I let the car die at practically every light because my leg was shaking over the clutch.

I got home and couldn't fall back asleep... All I could think of was how the entire weekend we keept saying we were going to put Bruno's car away so as to not leave it out on the street at night (despite both Fabio and I living in safe neighborhoods). How Fabio was blaming himself for something that we shouldn't have had to worry about in the first place. How the person who did this was probably wasted and stealing the stereo to buy drugs. How Bruno's insurance probably won't even cover the damages. How upset Bruno was going to be and why did something like this happen while he was away? Or better yet, in the first place?

Friday, my uncle's car was stolen in the middle of the day on a busy avenue near his home. My cousin found it parked at a supermarket near their house Saturday, fortunately intact. I went to tell Eugenia (my other roommate) what happened, and she told me that one of her friend's who's our neighbor, had his stereo stolen from his car while parked in his building's garage.

So at the same time I know it was stupid of Fabio and I to have left Bruno's car out on the street, especially since it wasn't ours and in our responsibility, what would have prevented something like this from happening?

Is it worthwhile to even have a decent car in São Paulo when I have to be worrying about whether or not someone is going to jack me or the car or something in it at any point during the day wherever I am?

... what happened last night into this morning was sad and unfortunate, and I know it could have happened to anyone anywhere, not just here in São Paulo, or Brazil, but the fact that it did and the fact that it happens so much here, is worth reflecting upon.

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