CBS Chicago reporter, Dana Kozlov caught a man, on camera, putting a wheel clamp on his own car and eventually got him to explain himself. "Rafal" puts the Denver Boot on his '94 Integra everytime he parks on the street and even when he parks it in his garage, to prevent it being stolen. The Integra is one of the most popular prom dates for car thieves.
Most people view the dreaded "boot" as something to avoid. It is associated with draconian parking regulations and bloodsucking city "revenooers." But the wheel muffs seem to have a beneficial use.
Sixteen thousand cars are stolen each year in the Windy City. Rafal bought his clamp online on Ebay. You can find them there for $100. His buddy has one, also. He deems it better than an electronic alarm, LoJack or the steering wheel type lock.
The Auto Immobilizer (Denver Boot) was invented by a Denverite and made its debut there in 1955 to avoid expensive towing and impound problems. It was originally made of steel, but Frank Marugg, the inventor soon switched to a lighter aluminum alloy construction. The devices were soon being sold to parking lots, ski resorts and hotels. There are larger designs for farm equipment.
There is even one of Marugg's original clamps on display at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. I understand they even take it down and use it when they have parking violators at the museum.
Comments on the story eventually drifted to the quality of life in Chicago. Here is sampling I found amusing:
john ball -- I was in Ft. Myers, Florida the other day and I saw a bumper sticker on a parked car that read, "I miss Chicago." So, I broke the window, stole the radio, shot out two of the tires and left a note that read, "I hope this helps!"
darcy -- Did you leave an empty quart of Old English 800 and a spliff in the ashtray so as to create the full effect?
BabyMomma -- What about a couple of empty 9mm shells on the floor, some slime on the backseat and a Welfare check stub?