Stolen: Wallet, Wedding Ring, and Pocket Knife

Today, while working out at the new SMU gym, my locker was opened, and my wallet, wedding ring, and pocket knife were stolen. Fortunately, since I use my PDA while working out, I still have my PDA.

I know for sure that at least one other person’s stuff was stolen.

My lock was a classic Master Lock Combination Padlock. It had a pink dial. Back when we lived in Groves (late ’80s), we picked it up at a grocery store on the way to the Port Arthur YMCA one night. (A family member worked there briefly, and we had a membership during that time.) When I came back to my locker after the workout, the lock was gone.

Fortunately, a cop was already at the gym taking the other guy’s report, so I was able to quickly make a report. The cop thinks a thief may have entered with a bolt cutter, although I wonder if the thief had a shim? These Master Lock combination locks are surprisingly easy to open. I will never use that trash again.

The ring was sitting in the locker, but my wallet and knife were in pants pockets. The thief was nice enough to zip my backpack shut when he was done. How courteous!

My wallet had about $80 cash, my credit cards, my driver’s license, my SMU ID, and other less important things.

I first called MBNA to cancel my MasterCard. After waiting on hold for 13½ minutes and reaching nobody, I hung up and called my bank and other card issuers. That was tragic for MBNA. Had MBNA not been negligent and actually had enough operators or an expedited path for fraud alerts, then $2,500 of fraudulent purchases could have been avoided. Yup, you got it, about 30 minutes after I hung up with MBNA, someone made three fraudulent purchases totaling around $2,500 at stores in the CityPlace Market, a shopping center with a Target and some other stores. I’m sure the merchant is going to eat the cost of these purchases, though, because merchants are supposed to verify that buyers are who they really are. (When is the last time a merchant has asked to see your driver’s license when you made a purchase?) My wife was finally able to get through to MBNA as the third fraudulent transaction was being placed. The other credit card companies and my bank immediately answered my call.

I am now questioning why I have an MBNA account. MBNA once fined me because I paid a balance too early (yes, literally, I was fined for paying too early–I made them credit me that fine), another time they fined me because their web site screwed up my payment (they credited me that one, too). Their web site is awful, and they don’t directly integrate with Microsoft Money (i.e., they haven’t bothered to allow Money to automatically download transactions). Now, their inept customer service department is causing a hassle. Because of the size of the fraud, I am now having to sign an affidavit that the transactions were truly fraudulent. Why should I bother with such a crappy company?

Shame on you, MBNA!

The good thing is this is apparently random crime, and it is all replaceable stuff. Well, I cannot get my original wedding band back unless it is sold to a pawn shop.

The cop said that he was not aware of a history of crime problems at the gym. In all likelihood, the thief was taking advantage of the fact that the gym just opened on Sept. 26.

You know what’s strange? SMU is supposed to be one of the safest places in the Dallas area. Despite this, this is the second time something has been stolen from me at SMU. Back in 1999 or 2000, a Sony Walkman was stolen from my desk. Somehow, I managed to get through my undergrad years without any losses.

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