Victim 'in tears' after truck becomes 2nd vehicle stolen from lot near Hobby by same alleged thief

Lileana Pearson Image
Thursday, March 9, 2023
Thief arrested after 2nd truck stolen from parking lot near Hobby
The same woman is accused of stealing an F-150 and F-350 truck parked just three spaces apart from the Fast Park & Relax lot on the same day. Only ABC13 speaks to both irritated car theft victims.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Court documents show Sean Coffee had his blue F-350 stolen from the Fast Park & Relax lot near Hobby Airport on Feb. 23 when someone with no identification was allowed to bring in a locksmith, have the car rekeyed, and drive away.

"Who's going to allow someone to have a car rekeyed without actually knowing that's their car," Coffee previously said. ABC13 brought you his story several weeks ago. Then, we heard from another victim.

"My truck is gone," Julie Ferguson told Eyewitness News after her F-150 truck was stolen from the same lot sometime between Feb. 19 and Feb. 23.

"I was in tears. I knew my truck was stolen," she said.

SEE PREVIOUS REPORT: Man discovers his F-350 stolen by thieves who called locksmith for new key at parking lot near Hobby

ABC13 did some digging and learned that 37-year-old Laura Espinoza is charged in both thefts. According to court documents, Espinoza was arrested on Feb. 24 with Coffee's F-350. Espinoza went to jail and bonded out in 24 hours.

Additional documents show on Feb. 28, Espinoza was spotted driving Ferguson's F-150. She reportedly led police on a chase, crashed the car, totaled it, and was arrested.

"And the truck was financed, so it's not like insurance just pays off your truck and gives you a new truck. I'm just out (of) a truck," Ferguson said.

Through the district attorney's office, ABC13 learned Coffee's and Ferguson's trucks were just three spots apart when they were stolen.

Coffee noted Fast Park & Relax previously said they would share videos and images of the theft but then refused.

Ferguson said lot management previously offered to cover her insurance's $1,000 deductible, but now the lot's insurance is denying the claim.

In an email, lot management told ABC13 they have adjusted their safety measures since the thefts, which include:

  • Increased verification measures and assigned facility escorts for vendors entering the lot. While tow assistance and locksmith assistance are required by guests from time to time, we are retooling our vendor verification to limit ill intent.
  • Heightened protocols formalizing documentation of vehicle registration and proof of insurance, along with a valid driver's license to establish vehicle ownership for all instances of lost tickets and keys.
  • Revised lost ticket forms.
  • Increased shuttle patrol units.
  • Updated training for all employees.

ABC13 wanted to know how safe your car is if you have to park near or at Hobby Airport.

Using HPD data, here's what we discovered: In the last month, 13 cars were reported stolen near Airport Boulevard. Nine were stolen from garages or lots, two from hotels, one from the Hobby terminal, and one with no exact location given.

When you look at the ABC13 Safety Tracker, you can see high to medium rates of auto thefts in the surrounding neighborhoods. City-wide auto thefts are up 16% in the last year.

Coffee and Ferguson said they expect better security from a locked lot they are paying for.

"Something needs to change at that facility. I would never recommend someone parks there," Ferguson said.

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