St. Louis' "Good Neighbor Guide" finally rose to the top of our pile o' crap one recent sunny morn, so we belatedly gave it the ol' Unreal once-over. Though it's filled with useful info like who to call when a rat poops on your patio or a neighbor stows his vintage 1972 fridge on his front lawn, Unreal's Are You Shittin' Us? antenna popped into an upright and locked position when we came to the car-theft-prevention program described on page seven.
It's called HEAT, and before Annie goes to get her gun, rest assured that it stands for Help Eliminate Auto Theft and doesn't involve arming the citizenry.
City residents can enroll in HEAT at their neighborhood police substation or at city hall. You provide a description of your wheels and then make a list of people authorized to pilot 'em around town past 1 a.m. You walk away with a nifty set of decals to stick on your car windows, in exchange for which the cops get the right to pull over your hooptie any time post-curfew to make sure the driver's on the list you supplied.
Since its inception in 2003, HEAT has attracted about 611 enrollees.
In Unreal's fantasy, first in line to sign up was then-St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department chief Joe Mokwa, who registered his car along with the entire contents of the St. Louis Metropolitan Towing lot — and authorized his daughter, Aimie "Test Drive" Mokwa, to take the wheel of the entire fleet.