Monday, May 30, 2011

The Lada Legend: Who Steals a Zhiguli 011? - Part 1

Lexus, BMW, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Mercedes. These are car brands you might normally associate with car theft in the former Sovet Union. This makes sense, after all. Stealing a car is a risk, so you might as well make your reward as lucrative as possible. It really makes you wonder, then, why anyone would want to voluntarily take a 1980 Zhiguli 011 (the make and model of our beloved Colonel) worth little more than $1500. One could argue that the 011 is the easiest car to steal. The locks are a weak deterrent at best (actually, one of our doors doesn't even lock). I'm pretty sure even a monkey could find its way in.

Alas, theft is exactly what happened. On one fateful day at the end of January, the Colonel was violated beyond all comprehension. What follows is a detailed account of events.


December 19th, 2010. The three owners, Sarah, Amy, and myself were all leaving Baku the next day. I had just moved all of my stuff out of my apartment and with it, the Colonel. Parking hadn't been a problem for the previous eight months because my apartment had a great parking lot. Now that I was gone, we needed to find a new place to store the old boy while Amy and Sarah were on vacation. We decided on a street near their apartments. It was fairly deserted and it didn't seem like anyone would mind if an old Zhiguli sat there for a few weeks.

Fast forward to January, 2011. Amy and Sarah returned from America to find the Colonel still parked on the street. It started fine and was driven here and there for the next three weeks. I was in Morocco at the time and wouldn't return until the beginning of February.

January 29th, 2011. Amy returned the Colonel to the same parking spot after a successful trip to Saturday morning Ultimate. The streets are calm.

January 31st, 2011. "Sarah, we've lost the Lada."

Amy just happened to look out the window at the street where the Colonel had been parked. Except there was no Colonel. Something was amiss. She then sent an SMS with the above text to Sarah, which the latter received while sleeping peacefully.

It was right about here that Amy and Sarah's investigation instincts kicked in. They vowed to scour the neighbourhood for clues on where the Colonel might be. Someone must've seen the perpetrators in the act.