Ramsey Car Theft Generates Laughs, if Not Leads

By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The reaction across the city was swift, and a bit on the mean side.

"Bwahahahaha!" one Internet chatter howled in response to the news that D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey was the latest victim of the District's car bandits.

"I have to say, when I heard the chief's car was stolen, I chuckled," said Tania Shand, a D.C. resident who is still mourning the theft two years ago, from a street corner in Shaw, of the beloved burgundy Honda Civic hatchback she called Rosie.

"Looks like no car is safe. I guess if you're police chief, you don't think your car will be stolen," Shand said. "But guess what?"

A day after Ramsey reported that someone had taken his department-issued Ford Crown Victoria from a street near his Southwest home, other Washingtonians whose cars had been swiped had a laugh at the chief's expense.

"I laughed about it, because in my [area], cars get stolen all the time by these kiddie car thieves," said Charlene Exum, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Fort Dupont Park, where cars are often taken by joy riders so young that they sit on phone books to help them see over the steering wheel.

"I think one of them got the chief's car. Now he's fallen into the same rut as everyone else who's had their car stolen," Exum said.

Andrew Johnson, a resident of Hilltop Terrace in Southeast, said "it made me smile" when he heard that Ramsey was a crime victim. Johnson has complained to police and D.C. Council members about thieves dumping cars in his neighborhood.

"It just seems like if the chief's car was stolen, it would hit home more," he said. "It just seems to me he would take more notice of the problem."

When Sandra Seegars, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Southeast, got a call from another commissioner telling her about Ramsey's loss, she thought he was putting her on.

"We've been fighting this problem here so long. So when I heard it happened to the chief, I thought it had to be a joke. I laughed out loud," Seegars said. "The chief knows how we feel about this issue here. . . . Well, now he knows."

Oh, he knows, all right.

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