Someone stole my car and now I own hundreds of vinyl records
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"Only in Los Angeles" has never rung more true
My car is gone. I’m standing in front of my parking spot inside the gated parking garage underneath my apartment building, and the spot is empty. I contact my landlord to confirm that it wasn’t towed without my knowledge. It wasn’t.
I sigh and head to the police department to report a missing vehicle. There’s some confusion because it’s my dad’s old car and still registered under his name, but eventually they file the report. Now I just have to wait.
I’ve accepted the possibility that it may be gone forever. I only have liability insurance, so losing it would suck, but hey, they either find it or they don’t. The world keeps on turning either way.
Surprisingly, I get a call the very next day:
We found your car. Can you come pick it up?
Yeah, I’ll be there in 20 minutes.
Also, did you have any… records in it? when it was stolen?
Like music records? Like, vinyls?
Just come pick it up, we’ll figure it out when you get here.
I hail an Uber and arrive at the scene 20 minutes later, praying that the car isn’t gutted. It isn’t. In fact, it appears to be in perfect running order aside from a busted lock and a badly damaged ignition. Also, it’s full of records.
Like, full, full. Multiple crates filled to the brim with old vinyls.
The officers tell me the thief was using the car to carry and sell the records. They ask for my ID and registration, they ask a few more questions about the incident, and then they grab a few of the thief’s personal items from the car as evidence.
Then one of them turns to me and says:
If you don’t want those records you can toss them. Or keep them, give them away — whatever.
I— you don’t need to take them or something?
So I can just keep them.
Go ahead. They might be worth something if you want to sell them.
Oh, rad, really?! I guess… yeah. I guess I’ll keep them then. Okay.
So now I own 9 crates of presumably stolen vinyl records. I have no idea who they belonged to and no way of finding out.
I have no experience with vinyls, so I start researching. I read lots of r/vinyl threads and learn about the different kinds of gear and what to look out for when buying. Everyone seems to agree that buying secondhand is best, so I begin combing through Craigslist.
I find one person selling a Pioneer PL-250 at a good price near me, and another selling a cabinet, Onkyo TX-25 receiver, and big box speakers. Three hours of driving and $260 later, I have myself a setup:
The records have not been treated well, and most are super dusty and scratched, but I’m surprised by how good they still sound after light cleaning. They’re all vintage, too, ranging from late-70s to mid-80s tunes. So far I’ve found a Jackson 5 album, a few Earth Wind And Fire records, a Thriller, and a Purple Rain (which unfortunately turned out to be melted and warped past playability). I’ve also discovered it’s endlessly entertaining to take 33 RPM records and play them at 45 RPM, causing everyone to sound like chipmunks.
I was born in 2002, so I recognize very few of the names on the covers aside from the really famous ones like Jimi Hendrix, Neil Diamond, Nat King and Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, etc. I look forward to expanding my musical palette over the next few months as I work through this newfound collection!
Guess I’m a vinylhead now. Thanks for reading, and have a nice day.
Ready for more?
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