misc comments

The night someone broke into my car

This is a story about how someone broke into my car to steal some belongings and how, with the help of technology and the Greek police, I was able to retrieve them.

I visited Thessaloniki to spend some time with friends on a warm night in June. They live in west Thessaloniki, and I picked them up early in the evening to go to one of their favorite taverns. We parked in a lot right across from the tavern and sat down to enjoy some food, conversation, and each other’s company. I had packed some clothes, my AirPods Pro, sunglasses, and an electric Oral-B toothbrush into a small paper bag. Thinking that the car was just across the road from where we sat, I thought it would be safe to leave the bag on the back seat, right on top of my toddler’s seat.

After about 15 minutes, I got a notification that I had left my AirPods behind. I looked at the car and didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Sometimes, these notifications from “Find My” are false positives, as it may think you dropped the case while walking. I ignored the notification.

A few hours later, we decided to move on and got up to get to the car. I was about to suggest a beer follow-up, but then I looked at my car’s door and saw this:

"Who makes these locks???"

Disappointed, I immediately realized what had happened. The bag was missing, and the side passenger drawer was open and visibly untidy.

In retrospect, we should not have touched much so the forensics could have their best chance when they got the fingerprints the next day.

We immediately phoned 100 (the police) and started checking the surrounding area for the odd chance of them having ditched the bag as they left. They nicked the clothes as well, which were in the bag 😒.

The police took their sweet time to get there, approximately 40 minutes for a car to arrive.

While we were waiting, I thought I should check if the AirPods had sent any signals. And they did!

"What an amazing technology."    . We were pretty excited to realize that the AirPods were about 1 km away from where we were. My two friends, after waiting 20 minutes for the police to arrive, decided to get their own car and go to the area to see if they could spot anyone potentially trying to pair the AirPods or sell them.

Now it was 00:15, and the police finally arrived. The two officers that showed up were pretty cool. They registered the event, and one of them also had AirPods at home. I showed him the point on the map, and he got excited! He said we gotta go and check it out. We might even catch them!

So we jumped in our respective cars and headed for the point the AirPods last sent a location from. Once we got there, we found my friends already looking around the park and the bins for the bag. They hadn’t found anything yet.

After looking thoroughly with the policemen and going around the park from side to side probing for a signal, I decided to restart my iPhone. Even though the AirPods were showing as sending continuous signals, they didn’t show exactly where they were.

Once I rebooted the phone, I was pretty tired at that point and more or less thinking that there was approximately zero chance we’d find them. They might even be within one of the apartments, but there were dozens of them all around, so no way to really go and knock on a specific door.

And then it happened. I pressed the Play Sound button and heard a faint feedback noise. I pressed it again and heard it once more. I called the others to the location, and we located the bag dropped in a bin. Folded and dropped in with, thankfully, all the contents still inside (🤢😅). We turned the bin sideways and recovered the bag. I looked inside and, to my complete amazement, saw absolutely everything still inside. I suppose they were looking for money(?).

Perhaps they got scared when they realized that they stole a tracking device.

I thanked everyone involved, and we called it a night.

The next morning, I proceeded to file a lawsuit against an unknown person at the police department. I had cleaned the car a bit with wipes, but they suggested I go by their headquarters to get forensics to look for fingerprints.

Once we got there, the process was pretty quick. The forensics expert found some prints, but he also found a glove mark. These little square patterns. Regardless, if one of the prints recovered from the door belonged to someone with a record, I’ll be notified.

"Damn pros"

That’s the end of the story at this point. I thought it was interesting enough to convey it to you. Thanks to Apple for some amazing tech. Those belongings were definitely worth a few hundred quid, so I am happy to have recovered them.

In the next few days, I’ll look to get insurance to pay for the broken lock, so I need to chase the repair and the paperwork. Fun!

PS. Never leave belongings in the car while in Greece, especially in any of the big cities. I suppose due to my permanent residence being in Ireland for so many years and in Greece, where we stay in relatively small communities, my guard was lowered. It was a cheap lesson, but a lesson nonetheless.

Edited with ChatGPT 4o for readability and coherence

tech, startup comments

Intro

This is the second post in the series of opening a business in Greece. In this part, I am going to cover the bank account opening part. Every business needs a bank account where invoices can be paid and the one I am opening is no exception. As part of this blog, you will learn what documents I needed to supply to my bank and hopefully learn from my mistakes.

Choosing a bank

Greece has various banks in operations and nowadays some online options as well such as Revolut. I wasn’t brave enough to try the online banks for the time being so I went with Peiraus. They have the Winbank app which seems easy to use and with enough options for the day-to-day. It’s also one of the established banks in Greece perhaps alongside the National Bank of Greece.

Waiting times

One thing that struck me initially was how long the appointments are taking to be able to open one such account in Peiraus. They told me ten days later. Thankfully I managed to find a way to get an earlier appointment but be aware that opening a bank account might not be a next-day kind of deal.

Documentation

If you are already a resident of Greece you will be asked to supply a tax clearance document (Εκκαθαριστικό) but in my case, since I was an ex-pat returning, I didn’t need one.

I brought the following documents with me:

  • Rental Agreement(Μισθωτήριο)
  • Letter(Υπέυθυνη Δήλωση) from Landlord that they allow me to use their premises as my business base
  • Letter from the Revenue about my business starting operations(Βεβαίωση Έναρξης)
  • Id

How it went

When I went in the clerk required me to also provide a signed statement that I wasn’t able to procure the tax clearance for 2022 since I was living abroad. Keep in mind that to procure signed statements you have two options. One is to visit a KEP(Κέντρο Εξυπηρέτησης Πελατών) and the other is to do it online via Gov.gr. To do it online though you will need a bank account as this is how they confirm your phone number and your identity in Gov.gr. Don’t ask me why taxisnet that I have already setup doesn’t work though 🤷‍♂️.

The POS situation

I was told by my accountant that all companies need a POS these days. This wasn’t entirely true. After asking around and with the help of the Twitter army I realized that I made the mistake of applying for and getting a POS. Acquiring one will set you back by €150-€200 depending on the bank, let alone the monthly subscription to run it. If you need one there’s a better offering from Viva Wallet. Their ePOS costs nothing to run other than the fees which might be better for you if you intend to keep it largely unused. In my case, I ended up returning it for a refund(hoping to get one that is) as it turns out that for B2B transactions this isn’t needed. With all that said, the area is a bit gray so better consult your accountant for a more accurate picture of your setup.

The offer for “more services”

Once the bank account opened the clerk asked me which “package” I was interested in. That seems to be a sales tactic to sell you some insurance or other products as part of your business account. They presented it to me as being something mandatory for Peiraus which I haven’t found any evidence to date. I managed to dodge that for the time being and you should too if they try to sell you anything similar as “mandatory” with your business account.

Access to the mobile app and web

As soon as the bank account opened I was able to download the mobile app and log in. Once I got home I logged into Gov.gr and created a signed statement that I mentioned above since I was now able to authenticate and identify myself in Gov.gr so I didn’t need to visit KEP to do it. I forwarded the letter to the clerk and that was the end of my journey to open a bank account.

Next Steps

  • Signing the agreement to provide services
  • Getting a company stamp
  • Kick-starting the steps to avail to ΑΡΘΡΟ 5Γ
  • Generating my first invoice via GOV.gr