Brickbat: Car 54, Where Are You?


When thieves broke into Danny Westneat's car and stole his wife's purse, his children were able to use the GPS tracker on the iPhone in the purse to track it down, locating the signal coming from a van. He called the Seattle police, thinking they would come and arrest the thieves. At first, dispatch refused to send an officer. When one finally did show up, he refused to allow Westneat to accompany him into the parking lot the family had seen the van enter. The cop emerged, told him he couldn't find the van and left. When Westneat drove into the parking lot, he immediately spotted the van.

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  1. How dare you defame the Three Stooges by comparing them to Seattle police! It wouldn’t have happened in Virgina Postrel’s day…

  2. Are they just not pretending anymore?

    1. I’m old enough to remember the skit on SNL about the phone operator: “We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the phone company.”

      1. Actually, I’m pretty sure that was Lilly Tomlin on Laugh-In.

        1. +1 ringy dingy…

      2. Apparently you’re older than you think.

  3. Without reading the article….It was a police van?

    1. Ah, not so…but an enlightening story of the dismissiveness our “protect and serve” “public servants” have for the taxpayers.

  4. Police cannot be expected to do any actual police work. Who cares if you offered the perp. up on a silver platter.

  5. Maybe the officer had a date with Morgan Fairchild and was late?

    1. After that, some liftin’.

  6. Should have told them there were drugs and cash in the van

    1. And that someone was running an unlicensed hair-braiding salon out of it.

      1. EXCELLENT!!

  7. Serve and problah, blah, blah. Now pay me my pension.

    So. Seattle is Gotham light?

    1. If only there were costumed criminals to make it interesting.

      1. You don’t think Dunphy isn’t a costume?

        1. Not a good enough gimmick to be properly entertaining to me.

          1. Worst. super-villian. ever.

  8. This would never happen if Dunphy were in charge.

    1. Fuck off, Tulpa. Insulting your boyfriend isn’t fooling anyone.

      1. Ha ha, Tulpa’s boyfriend is his own sock puppet.

        1. The bastard son of role-playing and masterbation. Ew.

  9. Tell me again how we need the police…

    1. The thing that really peeves me off is the cops won’t do anything and they won’t allow the victims to do anything as well. The system will throw YOU in jail.

      So the criminal smiles in your face.

      It’s sickening.

  10. Which is more likely: that the cop didn’t see the van, or that he recognized the van as belonging to a buddy?

    1. Or that it belonged to a know violent criminal. Who wants to tangle with someone who might fight back and hurt them when there are tame suburbanites to ticket for speeding?

  11. Burglary (both home and auto), are crimes that do not require investigation.

    Smoke a cigarette outdoors, have two glasses of wine and drive a car, those are the real crimes!

    1. It really is scary how it seems like that the police are afraid of criminals. I mean, I know they are, but it is much more comforting when they act like they are not.

  12. I was shocked to learn that the thief was not a police officer (or at least to the journalists knowledge he isn’t).

    I do not understand the reason the police did not act. Don’t they realize this was another chance to shoot their gun?

  13. He should have told the dispatcher he was going to make a citizen’s arrest. I’m guessing that would have brought a police response.

    1. And taser holes in the citizen’s shirt and chest.

  14. Every time I’ve reported a crime, the cops did show up. They ran me for warrants, asked to search for drugs, and when I refused they left. They never even bothered to ask any questions related to the crime. They were only interested in busting me for something, and when they couldn’t they went on with their day.

    1. The cops didn’t always show up when I reported a crime, but other than that, my experience is the same. Also, when my car was broken into, the police didn’t have anyone on hand to take a report for my insurance company, but they always had someone available to threaten me with arrest for stealing my own car.

      1. I guess I was lucky. The uniform took a burglary report and then did fuck-all. No threats or attempts to search for ‘contraband’. Of course, he also looked like a rookie, so the cop culture might not have fully taken root yet.

        1. Sounds like he needed more “training.”

  15. I think you are all missing something here.

    If you commit almost any kind of infraction the cops get to fine you. They get money.

    If you steal a purse then they have to possibly fight you and put you in jail. That is dangerous and costs money.

    Like most organizations, the cops are not in the business of paying out money or taking unnecessary risks. They are in the business of collecting money. Think mafia.

    1. The difference is the Mafia would actually go and break the knees (or other body parts) of people who messed with those who’d paid protection money. So at this point, the mafia provides better serivce than the cops.

  16. Cops can’t be bothered with investigating crimes with actual victims. They have more important things to do, like preventing crime by busting druggies.

    1. They could’ve told the cops their “stash” was in the phone and they would’ve hit the van with a SWAT team without a second of hesitation?

  17. Shoulda said his dog was in the van.

    1. Because everyone knows cops can’t resist an opportunity to needlessly kill a dog?

  18. Well, the vast majority of Seattle dwellers demand the USA be much more like the UK, the EU, Scandinavia. Pretty much all the places that have low crime rates simply because theft, break-ins, robberies and mugging are completely tolerated within the common classes to the point that crime of those types are neither recorded nor investigated. No sense in feeling bad for knuckleheads getting what they begged for.

  19. It may have been that the criminal was somebody’s confidential informant. CIs get a pass on a lot of their activity. If you’re a cop you don’t fuck with some one else’s CI. It’s a nice gig for a criminal.

    1. That is a fact.

  20. He called the Seattle police … When one finally did show up, he refused to allow Westneat to accompany him into the parking lot the family had seen the van enter. The cop emerged, told him he couldn’t find the van and left.

    Over/ under the officer in question being Dunphy?

  21. The cop walked up to the van took a small cash bribe and went away. Perfectly efficient.

  22. A couple of theories:
    1) The Seattle Police were too busy tweeting out cute tweets about the Seahawks game that was ongoing at the time. [true story, look it up].
    2) There were no ethnic minorities in the van for them to “beat the piss out of” [again, true story].
    3) There were no street people whittling in the van for them to murder [do I have to say it?].

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