By Amanda Yong
NIGHT out club-hopping ended with her car in a ditch - with a drunken thief at the wheel.
Miss Megan Tay, 28, thought it was safe to leave her key pouch containing her car keys on a table while she was on the dance floor.
But when she returned to her table a few hours later, the key pouch was gone. When she went to the Clarke Quay carpark to look for her car, it was missing too.
When she called the police to lodge a report she was told that the thief had crashed her car at a construction site near Killiney Road.
Did she think she was inviting trouble by leaving her belongings unattended? Why not keep her belongings in lockers provided by the club?
'It's not the first time I've left my things unattended. I usually do this when I go clubbing, which is once a week,' she said.
'I took it for granted that the people at the table would watch over it. I also didn't think it was necessary to ask someone to watch over it because it was unlikely to be stolen.
It has been an eye opener for me.'
Miss Tay explained that she did not carry her bag to the club that night and she was wearing a dress which did not have any pockets.
Also, she didn't know that there were lockers at the club.
She said she had left her handbag, containing her Louis Vuitton wallet worth $800 and $40 in cash, in the car.
While she knew of a friend who had $1,000 in cash stolen from her wallet at another club in Clarke Quay previously, she said: 'I've never heard, read or seen anything like this before, especially in Singapore. I didn't expect people to steal cars just like that.'
Miss Tay, a partner in a flower shop, had gone club-hopping with a friend at the Mohamed Sultan and Clarke Quay areas last Wednesday night.
Their fourth and last stop was I-RUMOURS, a club at Clarke Quay.
She left her key pouch and handphone at a table occupied by a group of about eight men, whom she said were her friends.
|Miss Tay's car was found crashed at a nearby construction site.
Her Louis Vuitton key pouch, which was worth $400, contained her car key, house keys, credit cards and identity card.
When it was time to leave a few hours later, she realised that her key pouch was not with her.
By then, it was around 6am the next day and the club was nearly empty - except for three tables.
She said: 'I asked my friend if she had my keys, but she said no.'
A club employee then went to check the table on the second floor of the shophouse, where the group had been sitting, but did not find the pouch.
Then, Miss Tay's friend suggested that they look for her car.
'I don't know why she said that. Maybe it was a hunch or intuition,' said Miss Tay.
When they arrived at the multi-storey carpark in Clarke Quay, they found that the lot on the first storey, where she had parked her car, was empty.
Miss Tay said: 'My disbelief turned to shock and then anger when it finally sank in that my car had been stolen.'
She had bought the black Hyundai Tuscani three years ago for $74,000.
Miss Tay immediately called the police, who arrived at the scene. They later told her that her car had been found.
She rushed to the scene with her friend and saw her car stuck in a ditch at a construction site at St Thomas Walk, near Killiney Road. It is about a five-minute drive from Clarke Quay.
While Miss Tay could not be sure of the full extent of the damage, she said that one headlight had fallen out and at least two tires were punctured.
The licence plate was bent in half and the front bumper was partially crushed and badly scratched.
Her car key, which was hanging from her key pouch, was still in the ignition.
She also spotted a black and white baseball cap with gold trimmings, which she said did not belong to her or her friend.
A police spokesman said the police were alerted to the accident at 6.05am.
A man in his early 20s has been arrested for theft of a motor vehicle and drink driving. Investigations are ongoing.
Miss Tay said that her other handphone, which she kept in the car, was missing.
'But I was surprised to find that everything else in the car, including my handbag, was intact,' she said.
On what precautions she would take in future, she said: 'I'll probably play it safe. Maybe I'll avoid places like that next time or carry my stuff in my bag.'
She added half in jest: 'Maybe I'll carry a fanny pack (waist pouch) next time I go clubbing.'
According to the police, there were 612 cases of motor vehicle theft in the first half of this year.
Her car is being assessed for damages. Miss Tay does not know how much the repairs will cost.
This article was first published in The New Paper on Nov 12, 2008.