A Mystery Car in the Apartment

Being a landlord means that I need to deal with many tenant issues including a strange one that just came up last weekend.

One of the tenants complained last Saturday that someone parked a car, a Mercury Sable, on his parking space. He was very upset because the parking space around the block was limited at night especially his dad works night shift. I asked him to place a threatening note on the windshield and hoped that the problem would go away when the car owner re-claimed his car. Well, it didn’t. The car continued to be there through the weekend. I began to conjure up images that there may be some kind of criminal activities: like stolen car or runaway car for a robber of some sorts. A lot of scenarios popped into my mind.

So on Monday, I went there and checked the Sunnyvale police department for any missing/stolen car outstanding and there was none. I decided to call the auto towing company – Sunnyvale Auto Tow. The driver showed up and told me that I couldn’t legally tow the car away because I didn’t have a visible no-parking sign on the front, or I may get sued. So I spent $30 putting on the sign and I had to wait another 2 days because I could take any action.

Two days later, today, I went to the apartment, the car was still there. The new neighboring apartment manager told me that the car door was open. So I did some detective work and checked out all the papers inside the car. The car didn’t smell very good so I held my breath while going through the tossed papers and garbage. I now appreciate the work of a detective. Each object would tell me a little bit about who this person is. I felt I was putting together a puzzle from each piece of the evidences. From them, I found out where this person lives from the apartment welcome note (he just rented an apartment in Mountain View) and the business card of the apartment manager. I then called the apartment manager and finally got hold of the manager.

As it turns out, the car owner, a young adult, was admitted in a hospital after a strange/wild party at the apartment across the street from my apartment. He ended up injured (probably from a fight) and had been in a critical condition since. His father contacted me after the apartment manager relayed my message and my phone number. He was very thankful that I didn’t tow the car and told me he’ll pick up the car this afternoon.

A very strange story. The moral: sometimes a little patience and a little detective work go a long way in solving problems and help people out.