After recovering from jet lag and getting settled, a few days ago I went to Estonia to get my car. My car is registered in Estonia and ‘hibernates’ there when we’re in the States.
While in Estonia I had good meetings with the leadership of Sunbeam and Camp Gideon, and I had a great meeting in Latvia where we may have some ministry opportunities opening up.
Yesterday I returned to Russia in my car. I had no problems at the border and I was very happy to arrive home.
This morning I went to my car, which was parked on the street in front our building, and found that both license plates had been stolen and a note was on the windshield instructing me to pay 5000 rubles ($75) for the return of my license plates.
Of course, I can’t drive without license plates, and I can’t get them replaced in Russia since my car is Estonian. Thieves know that a foreigner will pay money to get the plates back since it is such a hassle or impossible to replace them otherwise.
However, I don’t pay extortion if I can help it. Plus, there is no guarantee that the thief would return the plates even if I pay him, or he may steal the plates again to get more money. Ughh.
So, the plan is that I’ll go to Estonia (by bus) for a few days early next week to get new plates and then bring them to Russia. A week from tomorrow I leave for a trip to Latvia and Ukraine, so I really need the car! I was looking forward to a nice rest in Russia this week.
Since I won’t pay, hopefully my extortionist won’t get angry and do damage to my car. And now I wonder how to keep the plates from being stolen again . . . .