Monday, August 11, 2003

Crack Rentals

I have been meaning to post this for a while now; it's an e-mail sent by a friend's brother. I've posted it "as is," because it has a certain charm to it, as well as an interesting look at the "wild side" for all of us who have no idea what 50 Cent is talking about.

Beware of the “Crack (cocaine) Rental”

If you have the time, I encourage you to read the following story. It is the disturbing, frustrating, and somewhat funny story of how my car was stolen and rented out in exchange for crack cocaine.

A week ago tomorrow I invited a friend of mine, Keith, to come over to my house and hang out. My parent’s were out of town, not that they don’t allow me to have friends over, it just meant I had free run of the TVs, food, etc.

Keith came over and had his girlfriend’s brother named Louis with him. Keith is more of a business associate of mine, than a friend, as he and I both sell sports memorabilia. I know Louis and know him as a military dropout who bounced around from job to job.

We decided to drink some beer and eat some pizza and eventually decided to go to a nightclub. Most of you know that I hate cheesy clubs and usually avoid any place where the clientele have gelled hair and multiple piercings. I however conceded to go to this trashy bar called “Hurricane Hut” on the outskirts of Houston to appease Keith.

We drove out to this terrible club where Keith proceeded to get outrageously drunk while Louis and I drank in somewhat more moderation. I didn’t realize that the only reason Louis wasn’t drinking heavily was because he literally had no money.

After escaping the degenerates at the Hurricane Hut we drove back to my house. Keith literally fell out of my car and crawled towards his car and climbed in. Since my parent’s weren’t home I begged he and Louis to stay at my place and leave in the morning. This may seem somewhat outrageous to some of you that I was coherent (not drunk) enough to discourage someone from drunk driving. My pleading with Keith didn’t work so I told Louis that he didn’t have to ride with Keith if he didn’t want to and I would take him home in the morning. One less drunk driving related death was my goal…keith made it home safely

So Louis and I go inside and finish off some more beers before I fall asleep.

At 9:30 in the morning I get a call from my Bank informing me that someone named Louis attempted to cash a check of mine, they declined the check as he had no real ID. I immediately look outside and realize that my car is gone.

I am very surprised by this situation because it doesn’t seem as if I had been robbed. My wallet was left untouched, my parents’ Jaguar and Mercedes were still in the garage, and there was no sign of anything else missing during a cursory glance through my house.

While searching my home for loss, I was calling Keith who told me to immediately call the police and he would be at my house soon, he told me he probably knew what happened.

The police showed up and I told the story of the bank calling and Keith gave a description of Louis and told a story of how 2 years ago Louis stole his car.

One night almost exactly two years ago Keith, his girlfriend Michelle and Louis went out. They went back to Keith’s and passed out. When they woke up Keith realized that Louis was missing and so was his car. Michelle then revealed to Keith the family secret that Louis had a Crack problem and she probably knew where his car was.

Keith drove out to a crack neighborhood here in Houston and found Louis stumbling in the street stark naked and his car was parked not far behind.

After the police left, Keith and I left to explore this neighborhood. No luck in finding the car.

While in the area We looked into a few pawn shops hoping to find my watch, golf clubs, or CD’s, all of which were in my car. I was totaling up the stuff in my car and realized I had over $2000 worth of possessions in it…for future reference DON’T EVER LEAVE ANYTHING IN YOUR CAR…it is not covered by auto insurance, and I doubt you have a low enough deductible on your home owner’s to claim it.

Keith and I return to my house and start calling the few people Louis associated with (an ex girlfriend, one friend, and his mom). Louis was a very detached person and really didn’t have any connections or even a bank account or cell phone.

In the meanwhile I call my best friend Aaron and explain the situation and he comes over to my house so that we can go out at night to cruise the crack neighborhood again for a sign of Louis or my jeep grand Cherokee.

DON’T EVER TRAVEL INTO A KNOWN CRACK NEIGHBORHOOD AFTER THE SUNSETS…I’m not kidding, 50 cent isn’t lying when he says that “in the hood summer time is the killing season” All of the residents are roaming the streets trying to “hustle.” If you are white and cruise their block you are either a potential customer (so they approach your car if you drive too slow), if they don’t think you are a customer they stare at you with their hands in the pants (gripping a gun I assume).

I cannot emphasize enough how real these neighborhoods are, these rappers aren’t making these places up.

Anyway, we don’t find the car.

The next morning I call my sister and she has a friend with HPD and we explain the situation and he says nonchalantly that this is a common case and HPD calls it a “crack rental” and that the police don’t even consider the car stolen because we know who took it.

Our family friend was kind enough to elevate the situation to being a stolen car so that it would be registered in the national database.

Later that afternoon I get a call from my car insurance agent and I assume they are discussing the theft. They are in fact reporting that the car had been in an accident. In a fit of panic Aaron and I drive to the scene where the accident happened (the police were never contacted by the people in the accident).

On the way to the scene of the accident, which by coincidence is in the same crack neighborhood we had been searching, I am franticly calling the police and they are not helpful at all, saying they cannot send out an officer. I was appalled by this because I was explaining to the dispatcher that we had a legitimate lead on the case of my stolen car and I was about to go into the neighborhood to retrieve it renegade style (unfortunately my bulletproof Escalade, bulletproof vest, and Mack 10 were all being borrowed by a family friend, so Aaron and I were going to be forced into the neighborhood unarmed and unprotected).

We search the neighborhood again and find nothing. On our way home Keith calls me and tells me that Louis just showed up at his mom’s house…without my car.

While we wait for Keith to meet us to go to Louis’ house, Louis is meanwhile calling the police turning himself in.

Later that night the detective that Louis spoke to called me and explained the story.

Basically when I fell asleep, Louis got a crack urge (his first in years I’m told) and decided to take my car and go to his favorite crack neighborhood. He didn’t steal anything from my wallet because he knew he could loan my car to a crack dealer in exchange for some rock.

I was shocked. Apparently the economy is so bad that crack dealers will actually give you some rock simply for the use of your car. They won’t steal it or take anything out of it, they just want to borrow it to run errands and “slang” dope in neighborhoods they can’t otherwise get to.

This is called a “Crack Rental”…I wish I were making this up.

Anyway Lewis said that his plan was to rent my car out smoke some crack and get the car back to me before I wake up. Well, damn Louis’ bad luck, because his damn crack urge was so strong that he wanted some more crack.

The crack dealer said no problem and proceeded to borrow my car for a little while longer. Well, when he returns to Louis is in informed by one of his crack-dealing cohorts that Louis’ dumb ass smoked a little more crack than he was allowed.

Well, the crack dealer had run his errands for the day (I can’t even fathom what they were) and has no real use for my car and this is when he informs Louis that he better come up with some cash.

This is when they went to my bank. Since Louis couldn’t get the money the crack dealer ditched him.

Louis claims he stumbled around the crack neighborhood for a little while looking for the car before giving up and walking home.

After speaking with the detective he asks me if I want to press charges, which I do. He assures me that the car will turn up, probably not with my $2000 worth of stuff in it, but it will show up.

He explains how these crack dealers are smarter than one might think and know they don’t want to get thrown in jail for driving a stolen car so they just pawn it off in another neighborhood for more drugs. The cars are usually just abandoned and police come and get them.

Well my car hadn’t turned up by the time my parent’s returned from their trip, so they got to hear the story. They didn’t react with anger, just in disbelief that such a thing as a crack rental existed, and that I didn’t exhibit enough judgement and allowed a former crack head to stay at our house. Basically they felt that it was my problem, hence my loss, and my headache. Fair response.

In my defense, however, I would like it to be noted that Louis in no way resembles a crack head. My friend Aaron would even agree that Louis is very clean cut looking and actually looks more like a model than anything else….I don’t mean to be racist, but I didn’t know that crack was a white man’s drug.

So over the past few days I’ve been dealing with police, insurance agents, car dealerships, car rentals, etc. A real headache.

Today I got a call saying my car had been recovered. Aaron and I drove out to the lot it was being stored in, but it was closed. The gate was surprisingly open so we walked in to inspect my car.

Well, there was some pretty serious body damage to the car and a broken window, in addition to the fact that all of my stuff had in fact been stolen.

BUT, whoever was last to drive my car left me some kind parting gifts including….10 black and mild cigar butts, marijuana residue in the cup holders, a half a pack of Kool cigarettes, a one gallon jug of “pink flavored” drink, a burned CD which was titled “Niggaz and Hoez,” a minnie mouse umbrella, a Playstation 1, a straw hat, and a magazine titled “Black Hair Designs.”….I figure all that stuff is a fair trade for my Titleist DCI clubs and my David Yurman watch.

There are a few lessons to be learned here, but ultimately I just encourage you all to be well aware of the crack rentals.

 12:19 PM

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