File under: Derby for Beginners
I don’t know about skaters everywhere, but it seems like a Rose City skater gets her gear stolen about every few months. Maybe it’s even happened to you. Believe me; I am the LAST person to judge. My gear has been stolen. Twice.
The first time, I had it in my car on the floor of my passenger side while I was at work. It never occurred to me that anyone would want to steal my stinky gear. When I got to my car later that day, the passenger side window was gone. Smash and grab. That was, infamously, about an hour before my Fresh Meat tryouts. Luckily, I knew a few people in the league I could call, and they threw together some skates and gear so I could try out. A few days later, I checked MySpace (this may be dating me A BIT), and someone messaged me. They’d found my gear dumped outside their work, a few blocks from where my car had been parked. All those times they told us to put our derby names on our helmets? That’s what got my gear back.
The second time, I knew better than to leave my gear in plain sight or in the car. It just so happened that the one night someone tried to steal our car in front of our house, I had a bunch of groceries to carry inside. After doing that, I forgot to grab my gear from the trunk, or remembered and was too tired/lazy to go back out. That led to an unpleasant surprise in the morning. Later that day, the police found my gear, once again, ditched a few blocks away, but not before I spent some tearful minutes searching in the bushes near my house, thinking of my poor defenseless skates as it started to rain.
I know your gear bag can be disgusting, and worn-in skates really have no resale value. So why do gear bags get stolen? Because they COULD have something in value of them, like an iPod. Thieves don’t care.
So learn from me. Please.
How to not get your gear stolen:
Always leave it somewhere safe.
Your car is not safe. Your gear is gonna need to be transported sometimes, especially if your practice venue doesn’t have secure storage. Keep your gear out of sight when you run in to the store or to the bar, then bring it inside when you get home.
Your practice space is not safe. Not everyone who hangs around your league is someone you know and trust. Lock it up or take it home.
If you do have to leave your gear in your car for longer than you would like, open up the bag and spread things around. Take your skates out. Make it obvious that this is gross stuff that no one would want. Unzip the top and/or pockets, making it harder to grab and run with. Added bonus: you’re kind of airing things out.
Keep something with your league name on it, and your derby name if possible, in the bag. If a nice person finds it, they can google the league and say, “Hey, I have Frisky Sour’s stuff, please come and get it.”
Consider renter’s or home owner’s insurance. Make sure it covers roller skates. Who knows – maybe you can sell some tickets to your insurance rep during that conversation.
If your gear does get stolen:
File a police report. It’s a pain, and time-consuming, and they really won’t care unless you’re “lucky” like me and were part of a large string of crimes in one night. But police are into paperwork, and if your stolen stuff gets turned in, you’ll want to have a record of being the person who owned it.
Tell your league. It’s embarrassing, maybe, but they’ll be on the lookout for you.
Keep an eye on Craigslist, or so they say. I’m not sure that most thieves will go to the trouble of listing skates on Craigslist, but it couldn’t hurt.
Any other tips or ideas? Or scary warnings?