a horror after work story

There have been a lot of vehicle crimes (theft, smashed windows, vandalism) along the stretch of road my office building is located these few weeks. A female colleague even had her car broken into once and the whole car (same car) stolen just a few weeks later. The record was finding eight cars with their windows smashed overnight when I got to work one morning. A colleague has posted some pics of the smashed cars here.

When our safety department contacted the police and expressed our concerns on the spate of incidents, the Mascot Police Sergeant acknowledged that they have a youth problem in our building's surrounding streets who like to walk about and cause damage. They have targeted those youths and most are now before the courts but some are currently out on bail. As a precaution, I saved the local police station number on my phone in case I need it.

With the end of daylight savings last weekend, the sky now gets totally dark by about 6pm or earlier. Due to my project deadlines, I have been working rather late nights lately. Not wanting to put myself into any potentially dangerous situation, I try to minimise having to walk long distances in the dark to get to my car to go home after work.

Last night, knowing that I couldn't have possibly left work while there was still daylight, I followed a male colleague when he left work at 6pm to shift my car from the on-street parking to my building's secure parking area. I then parked my car in the brightly lit area under the surveillance of the security cameras at the spot nearest to the building exit door.

Things got a bit interesting when I left the building at close to 9pm. The moment I turned onto the main road, I noticed a black Honda Civic hatchback coming up very close right behind me. I decided to go get some Thai takeaway for dinner and made a last minute right turn into a rather dark neighbourhood - shortcut to loop back to the Thai restaurant in Mascot. The Civic followed and took a right turn too. I made a subsequent left turn and he followed too. I was thinking perhaps he lived in the neighbourhood and we just happened to be taking the same route, but I continued to observe that car. I made a second and a third left turn and the bloody Civic was still right behind. I was starting to get a bit worried - is that car following me?

I managed to park my car by the road just two shops away from the Thai takeaway place and saw the Civic go past me. Great, I thought, so he wasn't following me. I got out of the car, locked it, and walked towards the eatery. To my horror, the Civic stopped right in front as I was walking, he actually started reversing his car all the way to park right in front of mine. It was quicker for me to dash into the eatery than to walk back to my car then so I walked briskly in and greeted the few kind ladies who own the place and who have gotten to know me now due to my frequent lunches there.

I ordered my food and sat down in direct sight of the ladies. That Civic driver walked into the eatery too! Imagine the horror! Was he going to rob me and the kind ladies who run the eatery as well? And kill us afterwards? There wasn't going to be any help from anyone if something really happened, because, if you know how Australian suburbs are like, all the adjacent shops were closed at that time and the entire street was dark. There wasn't much traffic on the roads at that hour either so it didn't help that we were situated right along a main and usually busy road.

That man went to order takeaway at the counter after which he proceeded to stand at the entrance right in front of where I was seated, totally blocking the escape route. I took out my camera and tried to take photos of that guy and his car without letting him see what I was doing. I also put the Police contact number on the fast dial on my phone if I needed to call for help. I then brought the containers of pepper and chilli flakes to right within my reach and removed the lids for emergency defence action if needed. I thought I needed some sharp objects too and held my multiple house and car keys in one hand, ready to poke the jagged ends into his eyes or something. Thinking back now, I think I was quite prepared for an attack and may not have lost the fight if something did happen. *grins ^^v*

After a long agonising while, the guy got his takeaway and left the eatery. I opted to eat in instead of takeaway then as I didn't want to walk back to the car in the dark yet in case he was waiting for me in some hidden corner. At least it was brightly lit and I had company in the eatery. I watched the road to ensure I saw that Civic drive away. I stayed in the eatery for about 15minutes before I left. I looked around to ensure there wasn't any sign of that guy or that car anywhere before stepping out of the brightly lit shop into the dark corridor to get to my car. I also got one of the kind ladies there to keep an eye on me and watch me get into my car before pulling down the shop shutters (I was their last customer). I reached my car safely, got in, locked all the doors on the inside, sped home and into the secure basment car park before heaving a sigh of relief.

Was it paranoia on my part? Have I been reading up too much on all the bikey crimes going on now? What are the chances of you bumping into another car on the road that has only two cars including yours, heading to the same shop via a rather unknown shortcut way through a quiet neighbourhood at 9pm in a Sydney suburb? Well, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Many of us never realise how much we are taking the generally low crime rate environment in SG for granted until we are put in such situations. I miss not having to worry about getting mugged while walking alone at night back in SG.


Dante said...

wow, must be quite a frightening experience. If me, i also panic...like u said.. machiam like follow u all the way.

fav tudi said...

sounds harrowing, tudi would have panicked and might nt have been remained so calm!!! glad u r fine, shifu!!! Muackiez

beakee said...

omg... so CREEPY :(

Madam J said...

moral of the story: if you work late, go home to work late!

Shanewei said...

Sounds scary. But i must say your brave. Past 9pm and with a car following? I would have drive straight home and eat some maggie mee for dinner. No takeaway, no anything to avoid getting out of the car.

monkeycrab said...

shanewei: i would have driven home too. the only reason i got out of the car to get takeaway was i saw the car drive past me and concluded it wasn't following me. then when i saw the driver stop and reverse his car to park in front of mine, i was already out of the car and too late to get back in! but i think it was all some kind of great coincidence after all.