The Great Beetle Heist

     It should be noted that my parents were raised in the small town of Alger, Ohio, on opposite sides of the tracks. Literally, there were railroad tracks going through the town at that time where now only a long path of gravel now remains. This town had exactly one traffic light, now removed, and you can walk from one end of town to the other without breaking a sweat. As a matter of fact I have done so many times after playing in the park on one end to visit the grandmother on my mom’s side of the family when she lived in a trailer next to a junkyard/used car lot on the other end.

     A teacher came to Upper Scioto Valley schools from a larger city in the state. I’m not quite sure which one, but I think it was Toledo. He thought that the most trouble country kids could manage was tipping cows. He was wrong.

     This teacher drove a VW bug and when he parked it he would thread a chain through the slightly open windows and over the roof, where it would be padlocked. He dared the class my dad was in to steal his car. In fact, on the day of the dare, he was going to do extra paperwork to give the class more time to steal the bug. I’m sure one can see where this is going.

     Someone from the class brought bolt cutters to make short work of the lock. Hot wiring is often a necessary skill for a country kid when the keys have been lost to an old tractor, so starting the car was no problem whatsoever. Once the car was driven a couple of miles out of town, someone got the bright idea to buy an identical lock with a different key from the local hardware and refastened the chain as it had been in the parking lot.

     When the teacher came out of the building, he found all his student sitting atop their cars as if nothing had happened and they were just hanging out, chatting. The beetle was missing. Acknowledging defeat, he asked for a ride out to his car. A student quickly volunteered, dropping him off.

     A little while later, the teacher returns to town on foot. “Now,” he said, “can somebody give me the keys to the lock?”

Further Bug Fun

     This was the self same beetle that was light enough for the pranksters, on another occasion, to lift and carry through the double doors of the school building. They set it in front of the school office while the same teacher was in a meeting with the principal.  Unfazed, the teacher simply got in (as if he had parked it there), started the car, drove up to the double doors, and then rolled down the window to ask someone to hold the doors open for him.

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