Note of Caution to Brookland Drivers

Photo by PoPville flickr user Barbara.K

From the Brookland listserv:

I wanted to take this opportunity to give a word of caution to women/and men drivers in the neighborhood. Last night when I was pulling out of our parking lot and onto Monroe St. (near the metro tracks), a man in a beat up red van frantically motioned me to roll my window down. He said my font tire was extremely wobbly and that I should pull over immediately. He offered to fix it for me if I pulled over. I turned down his offer, but he proceeded to try and convince me that I would never make it home with my tire in that condition. Nervous about my tire I turned down his offers and slowly drove home.

My husband checked my tire at home and announced that nothing was wrong with it. This was the SECOND time that this has happened to me in the last few months. I don’t know if it was the same man, or a different man, but both times I thought it smarter to keep driving. I don’t know what this man’s intent was if I were to have pulled over and gotten out of my car. I am sharing this story though, so that the neighborhood drivers can be aware that this kind of thing happening. Please be careful!

20 Comment

  • DC creeps me out. I should move back to the country where I belong.

  • Sounds like a tactic used by the Zodiac killer.

  • I feel like I’ve heard of that technique before. Sounds like the best-case scenario would’ve been him “fixing” the woman’s tire and then trying to get some money out of her, and the worst-case scenario would’ve been kidnapping/rape/murder.

  • That is very creepy. I hope you informed the your local police.

  • This scam has been going on for so many years. Happened to me in Brookland in 2001! I did pull over but then called my roommate from my cell and the “friendly mechanic” sped away when he saw me on the phone. There was nothing wrong with my tire.

  • This does freak me out. But this summer I had someone frantically honking at me from behind trying to get my attention. I finally pulled over to let them pass and opened my window. He told me had spotted oil spewing out of my car (not a gentle drip). Didn’t offer to help, but he was right. I had lost all of the oil (failed filter seal). He saved my engine b/c I stopped driving my car and checked it out.

  • This happened to me this summer in Bloomingdale! I told him “Thank you, I am going just two blocks down the road” and kept on driving, crossing my fingers that my tire didn’t fall off. It never even crossed my mind that it could have been shady. Scary!

  • This happened to my boyfriend as well, driving down Michigan Avenue from Maryland. We checked out his car, and everything was great. Don’t fall for this!

  • Ha, happened to me as I was driving through Brookland this past Summer. I have no shame and decided I’d rather drive on a flat and ruin my car than deal with some shady dude on the street. Got to the Arboretum and everything was fine with the tire. Next time I’ll get the plate number and call the cops.

  • Has happened everywhere for years. I found a stolen car in our alley a few years ago – tracked down the owner and she told me this same scenario, only she did stop, then the man yanked her away and stole her car. If you suspect something might actually be wrong, slow down and wait for the “alerting” driver to drive away, then proceed to the nearest populated place to check it out yourself.

    • I can understand doing that if you weren’t sober at the time, like a typical knee-jerk reaction, but wow, what a dangerous decision on your part. Next time, take the safe route and call 911. let the pros handle tracking down the owner and stay safe!

  • Maybe it is really her tire….

    2 people in a row? Seriously?

  • OP: you’ve reported this to the police, right?

  • I would not stop, but if concerned would probably drive to the nearest gas station to check it out in a public space.

    There was a heinous crime that happened just like this a few years ago two blocks from where I lived in Richmond, VA. The only difference was that there was a van “broken down” on the side of the street with two ladies waving down passing cars to stop and help them. One guy finally stopped to see what was wrong and offered to help. Before he even got out of his car two dudes immediately jumped out of the back of the van with guns drawn demanding money. The guy in the car attempted to speed off as soon as he saw this, but was shot several times in the process of escaping. The guy survived fortunately, but the crew who setup the trap ended up getting away.

    Things like this are what makes me hesitant to take advice from random strangers telling me my car is jacked up and to let them “fix” it.

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