Have you seen a light-blue 1994 four-door Honda Accord with VA YGD 3719 tags and a Motley Fool sticker on the driver's side back window? It's mine, and I want it back.
My car was stolen last night between 8:35 and 11:10 p.m. from in front of a friend's house on Woodland Avenue in Takoma Park, Md. If you happen to see it -- say, at the side of the road or pulling into a chop shop in the DC-Virginia-Maryland vicinity -- please call the cops. For those troubled by the use of my employer's public forum to put out an all-points bulletin on my vehicle... like you wouldn't do the same thing? (If you're the punk who took it -- park it in front of Fool HQ [full tank, please], and no questions will be asked.)
This elaborate and unplanned stunt is the perfect lead-in for today's money lesson: What to do when your car is stolen!
Step 1. Panic.
Step 2. Laugh uncomfortably because of course your car wasn't really stolen since this is a nice residential tree-lined street with dog walkers and a neighborhood watch (that appears to take frequent breaks) and Halloween decorations hanging from well-lit porches. OK, guys... very funny. You got me. Where's my car?
Step 3. Call the fuzz.
Step 4. Promptly forget your license plate number (as well as that clever mnemonic device) when they ask.
Step 5. Sheepishly admit that the registration is in the glove compartment -- exactly where you're not supposed to keep it.
Step 6. Use "chop shop" in a full sentence illustrating how streetwise you are.
Step 7. Call your insurance company.
Steps 8-11. Run your shin into the nearest coffee table corner repeatedly as punishment for carrying only liability and not comprehensive coverage.
Step 12. Curse "kids these days."
Step 13. Go to Zappos.com to find some cute walking shoes.
In the coming days, our "What to Do When Your Car Is Stolen!" lesson will unfold on these pages in real time.
Again, that's a blue 1994 four-door Honda Accord...
Dayana Yochim will be soliciting advice and condolences on theBuying and Maintaining a Car discussion boardand will be taking her lashes -- and hopefully finding some workaround for that liability insurance oversight -- onthe Insurance board.