Richard Maslowski has a problem. He says his car was stolen March 22nd, and police can’t find it.
On its face that may not seem to be such a large problem. After all, thousands of cars are stolen every year, and with Chicago’s skyrocketing violence, police certainly have many priorities which one could argue run higher than locating pilfered automobiles.
Problem is, other city employees have found Maslowksi’s car, a candy apple red Honda Del Sol. City parking aides have managed to find it five times and have issued parking tickets each time.
Five tickets. And Maslowski keeps getting the notices.
“They don’t check on license plates,” he said. “So I get tickets to go along with my stolen car.”
What’s worse, all five of the tickets were written at the same address on Chicago’s near northwest side. Maslowski says after getting the notices, he called to find out if police had finally located his missing car.
“They put me on hold, and then they came back and said, no, the car is still listed as stolen.”
To add insult to injury, each of the notices carries photos of his car. In a different place than where it should be.
“Looks as good as it did when it was parked in my parking space,” he said.
Maslowski’s daughter Kristin Stockwell thought the whole matter was so absurd she checked out the address where the car had been spotted, to no avail, then visited the 14th district police station, to ask why police couldn’t find the car if the parking aides knew where it kept showing up.
“We can’t help you, because we don’t know how they work their system,” she says the police explained. “It’s asinine! It’s ridiculous!”
The Police Department did not respond to a request for comment. A Department of Revenue spokesman likewise did not respond to a request for information on why the handheld computers used by parking aides do not show a car as stolen when its license plate is entered. Her only response, in fact, was to correct a reporter that the employees writing the tickets are not meter maids---“They are parking enforcement aides.”
Fair enough. But Stockwell wanted to know why those parking aides couldn’t be told to be on the lookout for her father’s car, since they’ve apparently already found it five times.
“They said we can’t do that,” she said. “It’s been found five times. Five times!”
So, more than two months after his car vanished, Maslowski is still without transportation, and says he grows more and more frustrated as he sees places the city wants to spend its money, like a new museum on the lakefront.
“I’m not worried about Star Wars,” he said. “They could have found my car. I don’t have one!”