This story just happened and it is a great reminder that sometimes no matter how things look initially, coincidences happen.
We had a Catalan couple R. and M. stay with us house guests last night. They turned in early because they had had a long day of travel but Sheila and I said "Hi" to them when we got back from Stephen's birthday dinner at 10:30 last night.
This morning Sheila made us all kaiserschmarn for breakfast while I talked with R. and M. a bit about what were some good places to see between the coast and Calgary. They packed their stuff, went out the front door to leave and their black Ford Taurus with Alberta plates was gone.
Living in Victoria I called the Victoria police, they did not have the car but they knew where it was. Turns out the Saanich police towed the car at about 6 am. Sheila had heard something to do with a tow truck but did not pay much attention to it.
We called the Saanich police and clearly something more serious is going on because we would only be able to talk to the officer in charge about why the car was gone - he was on another call so we had no idea what happened or how long it would take till they could get back on the road.
A little while later the Saanich police officer in charge showed up and we found out what happened.
Seems that at around 5:30 in the morning a very drunk or stoned Hispanic man was seen on Maddock Avenue in Saanich trying to break into some houses. He was driving a newer black four door Ford with Alberta plates. He took off on the cops when they got there. They last saw the car turning onto Harriet Road. When the cop following the car rounded the corner he could not see the tail lights of any other car but did see a newer black four door Ford with Alberta plates parked in front of our house.
The Saanich police had cars searching the neighbourhood for the driver of this parked car, cops checked out backyards on foot. They could not find him and to be safe they towed the car because they did not want someone intoxicated coming back to retrieve the car and drive away. When they towed the car they could see it had been rented by someone with a Hispanic last name. The fit seemed perfect but it was all a bizarre set of coincidences.
This being Victoria, Hispanic men are not common. Next, there are not that many Alberta licensed cars in the City. Next, there are even fewer new four door black Fords with Alberta plates. Finally, R. and M.'s car was parked right where the police had lost sight of it. We are getting close to lottery win levels of coincidences here so I completely understand why the Saanich police thought they had the right car. A good cop does not believe in coincidences without proof of them.
The police, I suspect, began to realize something was not right when they are getting calls from us that our house guest's car had disappeared over night. When the officer in charge got here and I explained that R. was sober last night and sober this morning at breakfast and there was no way someone could have left the house and come back in without it waking me because of Louie's barking I could see that he understood that R. was not the guy and that this was a bizarre set of coincidences . With a few more details done he arranged for the car to released at no cost to them. He drove them to the car impound with their luggage to make sure they could catch their ferry.
The police did everything right, it was just a once in a lifetime set of coincidences. I suspect this has never happened to the officer in charge and is never going to happen to him again.
This will make for an interesting for R. and M. about there time in Canada.