Everything is all well and good — until it isn’t. Arizona sunshine felt good, really good. It warmed the bones chilled by winter, snow and ice. Its mood-enhancing rays filled with vitamin D were healing to the soul. Re-energized to face the waning days of winter and hit the ground running come spring, we headed home to what we saw were sunny, warmer days here in the Methow.
With the prospect of the long drive home from SeaTac, we made a decision to stay overnight along the way, maybe Cle Elum or Wenatchee. Then came the game changer. If you have never experienced smash-and-grab, you don’t want to.
Upon arrival at the hotel ParkSleepFly lot, it only took seconds to see that my driver’s side window was covered in plastic. A closer look at the interior covered in shattered glass revealed the quick rifling through the console. Thieves, interested in cash, found only a small coin purse containing at the most $5 in quarters for the car vacuum machine.
Unlike traditional burglary, which relies primarily on stealth, smash-and-grab thieves rely on speed. Our experience verified the tactic. At least five other cars were victims in the same lot at the same time. Catching these bad guys — not likely.
After reality settles in, stress follows right behind. No glass repair shop is open at 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday night (nor are they open on Sunday) and one shop that did answer the phone shared the bleak news that they probably couldn’t get the window anyway. The supply chain issue rears its ugly head once again.
So, what to do? Clean up the glass. Call the insurance company. Try to cover the window with plastic from Home Depot. That lasted about one minute because its opacity left blindness to anything coming from the left; dangerous, indeed. The ride over Snoqualmie Pass in 24-degree temperatures with cars and truck whizzing by was endurable because “at least it wasn’t raining or snowing” as the cold air blew through the car.
A very nice motel proprietor in Cle Elum brought out clear plastic and tape to cover the window for the night, assuring us that the car was safe, but to remove any valuables. On the road again in the bright sunshine the next day, the clear plastic blew off in the first mile heading over Blewett Pass. Beanie hat, lap blanket, heat blasting, again repeating, “at least it’s a sunny day.”
Finally safe at home with my wounded car, the next few days will determine what our options will be to fix what landed some hoodlums $5 in quarters.
Smash-and-grabs are becoming commonplace. One son had only a Goodwill bag of clothing donations in his car when he was struck. Another son had nothing of value, heeding the city advice to never leave valuables in your vehicle. Smash-and-grabs are becoming all too common at trailheads, too, where thieves can hit several cars in short order.
All trail users here in the valley should be aware of these crimes and know that they happen in rural areas, too. One of the Olympic Discovery Trailheads near Sequim was hit in February, where six cars with smashed windows only netted the perpetrators bank cards from one vehicle.
On a positive note, recently a little bird shared a shout out to my fellow columnist Ashley Lodato and her husband, Jon Albright, who created a loop trail for skate skiers adjacent to their property. I was told that other skiers commented all winter how nice it was to have that extra loop to extend their ski outing and wanted Ashley and Jon to know their appreciation.