As reported on www.thedaily.com.au
Jimmy Badcock learned an expensive lesson on the weekend that he wants to share.
Surfers who, like himself, are in the habit of leaving their car keys under or on top of a wheel should rethink their security strategies.
Jimmy, a 21-year-old apprentice electrician six months out from being fully qualified, left the keys to his VP Commodore station wagon on top of the front wheel when he went for a surf at Pipes off Alexandra Parade at 9am on Saturday.
When he returned he found his $7000 car had been stolen. Gone with it were his new sunglasses, some tools, clothes and a wallet with his identification and $700 in cash.
Fortunately he had dropped his work tools off to his boss before going for a surf. Unfortunately he picked up his pay.
"It just really sucks,'' he said.
"I worked so hard for the money for that car. I'm only an apprentice."
Jimmy said every surfer he knew either hid their keys under the car or left their car unlocked.
"Someone was definitely watching me do it,'' he said.
Alexandra Parade is a busy thoroughfare but Jimmy said anyone who had seen where he put his keys would not have looked suspicious.
"They could have just reached for the keys, got in and driven off,'' he said.
"I'll probably find my wheels on eBay."
Jimmy couldn't take advantage of the key saver feature now standard in most surfer leg ropes. The electronics of the modern car key has ruled that option out for many surfers.
But the key-on-tyre strategy is one he won't be repeating. Jimmy knows the price.
He has a boss whose patience will be sorely tested at the inconvenience of picking him up every day, and the small matter of a $3500 debt that still has to be paid.
The RACQ advises that surfers with electronic keys should get the shank duplicated at a key maker.
The shank can be carried safely in the keysaver on their legrope and will allow access to the car, where the electronic key can be stored in the boot or glove compartment.
The shank won't start the vehicle but it allows the car to be unlocked.