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Third time's a bummer - fourth's a charm

Published July 29, 2006

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - One day, Matthew Gaine went out to his car and noticed that the driver's seat was in the wrong position. The next day the mirrors were moved. On the third day, the car was missing.

Police say muggers who had stolen Gaine's keys were taking the 1998 Volvo on joyrides at night, even filling up the tank so he wouldn't notice.

"It was like it took him a while to come to grips with this," said Daniel Jackson, deputy police commissioner in White Plains.

Gaine was beaten and robbed by teenagers as he staggered home from a bender early July 16, Jackson said.

"He goes home and he changes the locks on his house, but he's embarrassed, so he doesn't call us."

Several days later, Gaine, who did not return a call seeking comment, noticed a dent in his car, parked in its spot in his apartment building's garage.

Then he started to notice other oddities inside the car, including the repositioned driver's seat and the closed sunroof. Another day, the mirrors were out of position, Jackson said.

On Monday, the car was gone.

"Then he calls," Jackson said.

Police figured that whoever took the car would return it again, so they staked out the garage. A 17-year-old boy was arrested as he steered the car into its spot early Tuesday.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday, and a third arrest is possible. The lesson, Jackson said, is that when a crime is committed, "at least let us know."

[Last modified July 29, 2006, 02:10:56]

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