1. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I need a car

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by OurJud, Aug 3, 2016.

    My two leads are embarking on a road trip. I had them crash and wreck their car (seemed like a good idea at the time - give them a problem, and all that) but I'd like for them to be legally mobile again at some point in the near future. I've had them steal a car, but for obvious reasons they can't risk using it indefinitely. They have no money.

    I would also appreciate some info on stealing a modern car (I believe hotwiring is no longer the answer because of all the computer and electronic components). How one might steal a hybrid or 'futuristic' car would be even better.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
  2. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Deux ex machina. Commit the faux pas, go on, go on. You can, because of what really happened to me—anyone tells you it's contrived give them my contact details:

    07538 342No, better not.

    Last 5 Dollars on a single no. on a roulette wheel in Vegas, saw me in a hired Chrysler Neon in Arizona a day later.
     
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  3. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have you been possessed by matwoolf ? :meh:

    Oooh, you're saying put some change on a bet, number comes up, hire car.

    I see, I see.
     
  4. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    No, but I really like him. Maybe he's rubbing off on me. Just saying I was in a similar situation once, and I got lucky with a bet. Your characters' problem is lack of cash; people take bigger risks when they're on the bread line.
     
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  5. NobodySpecial
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    NobodySpecial Active Member

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    It seems to me the easiest way to steal a contemporary car would be to lift someone's keys. Say in a bar a fellow patron left keys and phone on the bar while going to the washroom, thinking the items would be safe under the watchful eyes of the bartender. Bartender turns away and the keys and phone get swiped.
     
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  6. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's a good answer, @NobodySpecial, but the car was lifted from the driveway of a farmhouse.
     
  7. Sapphire at Dawn
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    Sapphire at Dawn Member

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    Farmers leave their keys everywhere. It's not implausible that your guys would find a set on top of a chest freezer or in the barn or something and they could just pick them up. I know someone who leaves their keys on top of their car.
     
  8. NobodySpecial
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    NobodySpecial Active Member

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    An uncle of mine runs a farm in Indiana, he has a nasty habit of leaving the keys in the ignition.
     
  9. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Add another voice saying that people in rural areas often leave the keys in the car. (I'm in Canada, so maybe we're a bit more trusting than in the US, but people in the city here wouldn't leave their keys in the car. People in the country would.)

    If you want a little extra reason and it's winter, have the farmer go out to start the car to warm it up before driving, leaving it in the driveway, running.
     
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  10. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Know the easiest way to steal a futuristic car with all kinds anti theft deterrents and fail safes?
    Kidnap the driver.

    You get a new car and a new character!

    It'd be a plus if they tried to hotwire the car while the (future) kidnapped was there. Their incompetence compels the new character to, 'just drive them around until they're done if it means they'll stop trying, and failing, to hot wire the car'
     
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  11. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks, everyone. @Chained, your idea would certainly trigger a certain dynamic to my story, but I think I'm going to go with keys in barn / ignition / etc.
     
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  12. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    \

    You sound just like my old highschool friends...

    Everyone talks about wanting to go crazy and have a fun time, but steal one car, crash it into a wall, and light just a little bit of incriminating evidence on fire, and suddenly its "Not what we signed up for."
     
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  13. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's fair enough, but you don't know my characters like I do. It's not what they'd do. Simple as that.
     
  14. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Absolutely, your story, your rules; I was trying to be funny.

    I should start trying to be serious, maybe people will laugh then...
     
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  15. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry, it's not always easy to detect tone in a forum post. I didn't mean to sound curt.
     
  16. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    There was a big spate a few years ago where criminals were fishing car keys off hall tables etc through the letterbox with one of those long handled litter pickers or in some cases a bit of bent wire.

    That aside another answer to hotwiring new cars not being possible is to have them steal a classic, plenty of old classic cars are very easy to either hot wire or start at the distributor cap (um so ive heard anyway) ... although your major problem is the steering lock that can be broken with a rachet clamp, or by a very strong bloke and brute force

    also point of note on using a stolen car for a long time - nick it where no one will miss it for a while , like airport or train station long term parking , or for a higher risk past time nick it from a criminal as they aren't likely to call the police
     
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  17. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I work in the automotive business by day. For any modern car you're going to need keys.
    I will tell you that in rural settings it would not be unusual for the keys to be in the car. If not in the ignition you may find them above the visor, under the floor mat or in one of the compartments. The more rural the setting themore likely the keys will be in the car!

    For any other writers looking for a way to 'score' a free car for their characters repair shops will often 'hide' a customer's keys for after-hours pickup. Same places as above with the added choice of inside the fuel filler door. This is particularly true for cars with 'fobs' that you can't lock inside the car...the car will be locked with the fob, then the key placed inside the fuel door. Only caveat is some cars have locking fuel doors too, so don't pick one of those models!

    If you need to actually steal a car without a key 1990s Chrysler products are really easy (Caravans, Plymouth Acclaim and other with the big chrome ignition switch). I'm no car thief but I could steal one with a $8 dent puller and a screwdriver. The minivans were really popular for amateur drug dealers to steal to do their rounds with, then dump it after they are done. I've been told GM cars were easy to break the ignitions on also but don't have experience with those.

    The problem trying to steal most cars is you may defeat the ignition by hot wiring but the steering column will remain locked. You've got to get back into the 1960s for really easy hot wiring to be done. Cars with the switch in the dash won't have the locking column.

    Motorcycles are often easy to bypass the ignition switch on, just depends on the model.
     
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  18. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    @ddavidv - thanks, ddavid. I really like the 'keys in the car but hidden' idea, and will probably go with that. I'm not sure people in England are quite as inclined to do this, even in rural parts, but there's always artistic licence :)
     
  19. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    Car theft is a much bigger problem in the UK than the US from what I understand. Since it is more common perhaps there is more info available as to how it is done?
     
  20. Sapphire at Dawn
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    Sapphire at Dawn Member

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    I'm in rural UK and I can tell you that they do. Perhaps not so much keys left in the car, but definitely in places they'd be easy to swipe, such as the examples given in my earlier post.
     
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  21. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,
    This may be a New Zealand thing, I don't know, but for twenty years I worked following up with people about their various illnesses. And as part of my work I used to wander into people's homes routinely. I can't tell you how many times I've wandered up to a house in a rural area, the front doors been wide open with no one around, and in the front hall there's a side table with a fruit bowl or ash tray on it and everyone's keys sitting in it. House keys, work keys, car keys, the lot. I'm guessing it's still much the same.
    Oh, and as an aside, there's a very simple and effective way to not get pulled over by the cops. It gets used a lot. Drive through a lot of mud puddles. The mud splashes everywhere and covers the licence plates, and no one can say it's a deliberate attempt to hidethe plates if the rest of the car is the same.
    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  22. Sapphire at Dawn
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    Sapphire at Dawn Member

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    Having a number plate so dirty it's unreadable is an offence in the UK at least. So yeah, they can say it's a deliberate attempt!
     
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  23. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    there are a number of books by ex car theives out there - not to mention forums etc where the tricks are discussed, but tbh if the characters don't have that knowledge and kit its not going to help them much ... for example its easy to break a sterring lock with a rachet clamp, but you arent going to randomly have a rachet clamp handy unless you went equiped to steal cars

    the days when you could pop a lock open with a bent coat hanger then find a spare key in the glove box are long gone..
     
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  24. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yup. I think that's why I'm going to go with the key stealing / finding idea when I do the rewrite / editing.
     
  25. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Sapphire,

    I'm sure it is here too. But if it's an obvious farm vehicle - say a ute or a four wheel drive - which lives much of its life off road the police aren't going to stop it and give anyone a ticket. They might pull someone over and tell them to get the
     

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