I had just recently moved from Minneapolis to Rochester. This past weekend, I decided to drive back up for the day to get some things for my apartment and reconnect with friends. No more than thirty minutes after I arrived, my car got stolen. Really.

If you’ve ever been in this situation, you know that it sucks. If this does happen to you, though, here’s everything you need to know about what to do.

  1. Make Sure You’re Not An Idiot

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked back into a parking lot or ramp and thought, Wait, where did I park my car? There could be a chance that your car is parked elsewhere, or that you’re even in the wrong lot. It happens. I once walked from the fourth floor of a parking ramp all the way down to the main level and saw my car right by the entrance. Pretty much defeating the entire purpose of having an awesome parking spot. So yeah, if you’re lucky, you’re just an idiot. Unfortunately, this time I was just an unlucky idiot.

  1. Look For Any Witnesses Or Bystanders

Is there anyone around who might have seen what happened to your car? No? Well, that’s not helpful.

  1. Start By Calling A Towing Company And Then Work Your Way Up The Chain Of Command

If you parked on the street, there’s a good chance you could have made some sort of random parking violation. Do you have any unpaid bills or tickets? Any reason in which your car could have gotten towed? At this point, this is the best case scenario. Look for any signs that show the number for a towing company, or ask someone nearby who would know. Once you find a company to call, make sure to be nice to the person at the other end of the line. Even if your car was just recently towed, they should know right away. If they don’t have it?

  1. Contact Your Local Authorities

This is when reality starts to kick in. More than likely, your vehicle has been stolen. It’s a sickening, violating feeling. You can call 911 and tell the operator you need to file a report of a stolen vehicle. Be prepared to give them a detailed description of your vehicle. Do you know how much fuel was left? Think of anything important, relevant information you can pass along. Afterwards, they will likely either send an officer to your location or give you the option to file a report at a local precinct.

Luckily for me, I was able to flag down a police car a few minutes after getting off the phone. When they asked me to take them to where I believed my car was originally parked, it was only then I discovered small shards of glass scattered across the parking space. At least I wasn’t an idiot this time!

  1. Call Your Insurance Provider To File A Stolen Vehicle Claim

After talking to the police, I gave Flo a buzz. Please note that when you give the agent your policy number and they ask to confirm that you’re the owner of the vehicle, don’t say “…well, not anymore!” and think that’s hilarious and original. You know they hear that all the time.

  1. If You Had Any Sensitive Information In Your Car, Change Your Passwords

In my case, my iPad had saved passwords for my Apple ID, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, LinkedIn, and more. I loaded the Find My iPhone App (alternately, you can log into your iCloud account) and set my iPad to Lost Mode. Shortly thereafter, I set my iPad to erase all my data the next time it connects to a Wifi.

If you left credit cards or a check book in your vehicle, you should probably reach out to the companies and your bank as well.

  1. Call Your Mom

At this point, you probably need someone to talk you off the ledge. Call someone you trust, like a parent, spouse, sibling, friend, coworker, or anyone who can be a reassuring voice on the other end of the line. Maybe you already got this from your insurance agent, I don’t know. Regardless, it’s remarkable how much better you’ll feel talking to someone who can bring sanity to a crazy situation. For me, that’s my mom. And like I said, when it comes to phone calls, you want to work your way up the chain of command. It really doesn’t get any higher than Mom. Well, other than Grandma.

  1. Check To See If There Are Any Security Cameras Nearby

There aren’t? Sh**.

  1. Write A List Of Everything In Your Car

Jacket, duffle bag, t-shirt, button-down, jeans, socks, underwear, shaving kit, jumper cables, $100, iPad, iPhone charger, check book, hiking hat you bought in Denver, contact lenses, *sobs uncontrollably*

  1. Look Into Various Forms Of Witchcraft And Other Pagan Methods Of Revenge

This is where the anger begins to set in. Unfortunately, at this moment, you don’t have any way to confront the thief and prove that karma exists. If by chance you were able to catch a glimpse of the lowlife who stole your car, you can fashion a makeshift voodoo doll. I recommend poking the kneecaps with a pin and working your way up. Alternately, you can burn said doll in effigy in a symbolic moment of closure. Otherwise, you can try going on the Dark Web to discover how to summon Ancient Japanese Spirits of Revenge. Proceed at your own risk, though. That usually doesn’t end well and tends to backfire.

If all else fails, try this: close your eyes. Imagine yourself walking back to your car. You see a man, who looks suspiciously like a combination of that one b-hole from high school and some jabroni dating your ex. You heroically yell at him to get away from my car. He turns and looks at you with an evil sneer, He charges at you. Meanwhile, a crowd full of everyone you’ve ever wanted to impress gathers. You take down the thief with your sweet karate moves. Someone throws you a can of beer. You catch it and immediately guzzle it down. Then you turn to the camera (also there are cameras) and say not THIS car, Jack. The crowd cheers. Your ex walks up to you with a face full of regret, her boyfriend lying in a crumpled mess on the pavement. She turns to you. Your eyes meet. She takes one step forward when you hold your hand out, motioning her to stop. She takes a step back. You put on sunglasses, get into your car, and drive off into the sunset. A bald eagle soars through the sky.

Yeah, that’s better. That’s the good stuff.

  1. Realize That Everything Is Going To Be OK

It will. If you’re reading this article right after your car has been stolen, take a moment to realize that at least you’re still in one piece. Possessions are ultimately just possessions. The police will hopefully come through. Fingers crossed, Flo will have your back. And in the end, know that committing the decision to steal someone else's property is an indication that this person probably has (or will have) a life that’s much, much worse than yours. At least you’re not that kind of person. Take solace in that. It may not feel like much at the time, but it’s a small silver lining you can hold onto. Unless the person who stole your car is somehow a wealthy old British man who just steals cars for the thrill. That’s…actually kind of awesome.

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