A different kind of mystery machine

Views 13 | Time to read: 2 minutes | Uploaded: 10 - 4 - 2017 | By: Alec Jutila


Spiders scuttle along the rusted shell as ants scavenge for crumbs deep within tattered seats: for the recently inhabited Dodge Ram Van, the saying “feels like home” would apply to no one but its previous occupant, who abandoned his mobile home on Westmont campus.
The Horizon was unable to get an official explanation for when and why the derelict van arrived on campus and there is no written record of its arrival in the Public Safety office, but the Public Safety team have left several notifications on the old hulk’s windshield. The earliest notification dates back to Sept 7, 2017.
“We are working with the county to have the van removed as an abandoned vehicle from the property” said Tom Baur, Public Security Director. “It is a slow process”.
Do not fret- the police and public safety know the identity of the owner. Although they refrained from sharing the owner’s identity out of concern for privacy, it’s possible to learn a little bit about the van and its driver through some simple observation.
The state of the van suggests it has been used as a mobile home in the past, perhaps for a very long time. For privacy, dirty plastic blinds shade two windows and a combination of tin foil and duct tape cover another, while mere gunky tape residue borders the rest. The view through the shattered passenger window yields dissected seats littered with clothing and internal stuffing. The back row of seats have been folded down, possibly to use as a bed.
It also appears the occupant isn’t coming back. Most of the vital organs of a plastic cabinet were ripped out, leaving nothing but broken shards and tattered paper on a blotchy floor. Naked wire hangers are strung up along a metal bar- besides the clothing in the front seat and a chipped tea cup in the back, very little usable material appears left behind.
The exterior won’t be winning any Santa Barbara snazzy home awards either. Sticker marks and rust corrosion pock the murky cream colored hull. A faded orange stripe slices the bulk in half. And aside from engine trouble, the back right tire experienced severe deflation while on campus, although the source of the deflation remains unknown. It won’t be going anywhere- except by tow truck.


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