Feeling effect of ‘parking at owner’s risk’

IT HAD always been Leah Chiluba’s routine to pass through a shopping mall after her gym session. Before leaving her vehicle at the car park, she would secure her laptop bag containing her gym clothes in the back seat.
But events of August 30, 2020 completely changed her routine. She had been inside the shopping mall barely 30 minutes when she walked back to her car and found that the gym bag was missing.
As she packed her groceries, she noticed that the gym bag was not where she had left it.
“It dawned on me that it must have been stolen. But my car didn’t look like it had been tempered with. I have no idea how they managed to open. It was scary to think that a stranger, a thief for that matter had been in my car,” she says.
Her car has an alarm system and she asked a security guard manning the car park if he noticed anything.
The guard said he didn’t see and hear anything and drew her attention to a disclaimer on the fence reading ‘Parking at owners’ risk’.
Disappointed by the turn of events she decided to go home brushing aside the idea of reporting the matter to the police.
Although she felt violated, Leah was consoled by the fact that there was nothing valuable in the laptop bag as she could replace her gym clothes anytime.
“I felt violated. Those were my personal things. The guard also frustrated me the most because he did not seem concerned at all. At least, it wasn’t my laptop that was in the bag, I was lucky. Some people are not so lucky,” Leah says.
Leah is now more cautious about leaving any valuables in her car whenever she goes to a shopping mall.
She says she leaves someone in the car to keep watch even when there are guards around.
She says she does not trust the security guards at shopping malls anymore after her experience.

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