Halethorpe Abandoned Car

First Posting: 03/06/2016

A running account of the glacially slow recognition of a car abandoned at the Halethorpe MARC train station. Bear in mind that this photo documentation was only begun after several weeks of seeing this car left sitting in the parking lot. I commute by motorcycle, so by December of 2015 it had gotten too cold to commute on two wheels. Prior to that, I had no concerns about finding a place to park and - more importantly - never used the south end of this parking lot. Having shifted to driving a cage, finding an open space and delving into the southern end of the parking lot suddenly became a whole lot more important. It is crucial to note that by the time the first picture in this series is taken, I already considered this car to have been abandoned.... So this isn't the start, hopefully this is closer to the end.

One of the many perennial headaches of DC area commuters is, always has been, and probably always will be... trying to find some damn place to park. Tuesday through Thursday at Halethorpe, by 7am the parking lot is basically full. By 7:30am, regardless of the week day - it is full. Full. As in - NO parking spot left. Parking spots are precious commodities. To allow this miscreant to steal parking from people that really need it is, I think, actionably criminal. This car should be towed and impounded... IMMEDIATELY!

The security motto for public transit is "If you see something, say something". Listed amongst those things regarded as "suspicious behavior" is "Attempts to abandon a vehicle in or near a transit parking facility.." I so informed the MTA Police several weeks ago (2/2/2016 to be exact). As of this posting (3/8/2016), no action has been taken.

This is a security risk. This rail station services daily commuters to Washington, DC. Mostly government workers, the MARC trains on the Penn Line (which Halethorpe serves) runs on the Northeast Corridor. The most important passenger rail line in the country. Lest you think I'm being alarmist, I'd like to refresh your memory about the 2004 Madrid train bombings. Trains, specifically commuter trains, most definitely are a terrorist target. Leaving about a ton package next to the railway carrying U.S. Government and civilian workers to and from the nation's capitol daily should be considered a security threat. The refusal of the MTA Police to recognize and treat it as such is, shall we say, dismaying.

Since the Halethorpe station is in Baltimore County, their rules might apply. An abandoned vehicle is defined as:

..a vehicle parked on a public roadway or private property that is visibly inoperable, is not displaying valid registration or is illegally parked for more than 48 hours.

As is usual with Police communications, the statement (while seemingly clear), is intentionally ambiguous and misleading. As written it sounds like all of those conditions need to be true in order for the rule to apply. It does not. This vehicle falls within that definition.

So let's document the saga. First evidentiary photo: 01/08/2016. Let me emphasize, yet again, that this is the first documentation of the offense. This photo was prompted by having already noticed it as abandoned. At the time of this photo, it has already been sitting for over a month.

Still there: 01/11/2016

Still there: 01/15/2016. Just gotta love that custom license plate. Let me guess. "Brawler's" car has been sitting here ever since the night he got arrested {I wonder for what?} sometime in December of 2015. Just a guess, but I'm sure not many would want to take me up on that bet...

Still there: 01/20/2016

Still there: 01/21/2016

Still there: 01/27/2016. Snow removal folks had to work around the abandoned car.

Still there: 01/27/2016. Worth a look from the other side too. So he's nuisance not just to commuters but to the snow removal crew as well. A paragon of considerate citizenship (/sarc)

Still there: 02/11/2016. We're now past the one month point of documented abandonedness... You can clearly see what I mean about the vehicle being visibly inoperable. Ok, maybe it will start. But maybe not... I'm thinking not!

Still there: 02/23/2016

Still there: 02/26/2016

Still there: 03/02/2016

Still there: 03/03/2016

Still there: 03/04/2016. Approaching the 2 month point of documented abandonedness.. And, yes, still thwarting the efforts of the snow removal crew. If we're spared any additional snow, this vehicle has now been documented to have been sitting through every snow storm of this entire winter.

Still there: 03/07/2016. Covered in frost, it obviously spent the weekend where it has spent the past weekends. And I'm not the only one that has noticed. Just before this picture was taken I observed another of the commuting regulars walk quite out of his way to take a long look. I'm far from being the only one wondering why this thing is still here.

exif:Datemodified: 3/7/2016 7:42am

Still there: 03/08/2016. We've now officially gotten to the two month point. Yeah, February is a short month. But this is a leap year, so it's one day longer than normal. Documented as abandoned for 2 months. In actuality it's probably 3. Rode the motorcycle to the train station this morning. So this car has been abandoned here from the time winter forced me off the bike until the time I began using it again. Since before the end of year holiday season to Bike Week.

exif:Datemodified: 3/8/2016 7:40am

Still there: 03/21/2016. We've passed daylight savings time and Easter looms. Two weeks have now passed since my second attempt to get MTA to address this issue. Flags are still flying at half-staff in memory of those killed and injured in the terrorist bombings in Belgium.

exif:Datemodified: 3/21/2016 7:36am

How long must this go on? In all seriousness. This is a public safety and security issue. Do I think this particular vehicle poses a direct security threat? Probably not. I figure my theory about how "Brawler's" car came to be abandoned here as the more likely scenario. {I mean, you can't possibly move your car when you're in jail. You'd think he could at least get someone to move it for him. Then again, how many friends does somebody nick-named "Brawler" really have?} But I don't find it at all comforting that someone could abandon a vehicle in a commuter rail station parking lot. It's just one car you say? Ok. But what about the next one? And the next one? And... Does no one remember The Oklahoma City bombing?

I saw something. I said something. Nothing whatsoever has been done about it.