An Adams Morgan woman had just bought her car six weeks earlier when, she says, someone stole it from the street this past weekend and she managed to track it down herself.
On Saturday night, Lauren Balance, a hairdresser who drives to her clients ’houses, realized her car was gone.
“It was definitely a moment of panic,” she said. “I need my car, so when it’s stolen, that’s a huge problem for me that hinders my livelihood.”
Balance tried to report the car as stolen to DC police, but, she says, they kept asking if she had lent it to a friend and simply forgot. They did not register her car as stolen.
Balance’s car has a tracking system called Uconnect. When she turned it on, she saw it dripping a garage in Anacostia. She gave the location to police and says officers found a man fainting inside her car.
But, she says, because police never marked her car as stolen, they did not arrest the man.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” Balance said. “People will keep stealing cars if they know they can make it.”
We asked the DC police for comment. They said they were investigating the matter.
“I just want people to be aware of what to do if they are also in this situation,” Balance said. “You really have to be your own defender, which is unfortunate.”
Car theft is part of an annoying trend in DC According to police statistics, more than 3,000 people have been robbed of their cars in the city this year, more than 11% more than this time last year.
Some of those thefts include a DC firefighter’s car that was taken from a fire station parking lot when he was responding to emergencies; an Instacart driver’s car that was taken twice in 24 hours, and last December, DC councilor Mary Cheh’s car. Her car was stolen by someone who jumped in when she stopped at a bakery.
“I mean, I’m just waiting for it to happen again, unfortunately, but let’s hope it doesn’t happen,” Balance said.
Balance says she encourages people to put tracks in their cars and hopes others don’t have to go through what she did.