Bush Airport traveler hit with $1,800 bill to replace catalytic converter taken at city-owned lot

Mycah Hatfield Image
Tuesday, July 26, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

There have already been dozens of criminal incidents, specifically those targeting car parts, at one of the city-owned parking lots serving Bush Airport.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A man was frustrated after returning from vacation to his car parked in one of the "ecopark" lots at Bush Airport to find his catalytic converters had been stolen.

Matthew Light parked his Toyota Tundra at the ecopark park-and-ride lot on John F. Kennedy Jr. Boulevard on July 14 and returned five days later.

"I started it up and it sounded like there was a Harley inside the vehicle," Light said, adding that he selected the lot because it was run by the airport and figured it was safer and more secure.

"I have parked there in the past without issue," Light said. "It seems to be relatively safe. It's gated. There's always staff there."

In addition to the $45 he paid to park, he is now out more than $1,800 more to fix his vehicle.

SEE ALSO: Catalytic converter ordinance in effect after rise of thefts in Houston

Houston Airports have two ecopark lots. One is on JFK Boulevard and the other is on Will Clayton Parkway.

A look at Houston police crime data found that there have been at least 55 incidents there from January to June 2022 at the JFK location. Most of the reported crimes were thefts of car parts.

The lot on Will Clayton, ecopark 2, has only had three incidents this year.

"After hearing the stats, they have a responsibility at that point," Light said. "This is not a one-time thing. This is almost every week (that) this is happening."

Light wants to be reimbursed for the money that he is now out of. He said he has tried to get in touch with someone with ecopark but has not had luck.

"If this, on average, sets people back $2,000 every time it happens, I could have Ubered back and forth to the airport," Light said.

ABC13 looked at crime data at other offsite parking lots and found that none of the numbers were near the ecopark on JFK. So far in 2022:

  • The Parking Spot on JFK: 7
  • Park and Fly on JFK: 5
  • The Parking Spot 2 on Will Clayton: 4
  • Fast Park and Relax: 3
  • Fine Airport Parking: 0
  • The Parking Spot 1 on Will Clayton: 0

We reached out to Houston Airports, which said it does not have liability when it comes to incidents like the one Light suffered from.

They also issued us the following statement:

"Houston Airports cares about its passengers and their property. There are multiple cameras at all parking locations, our lots are well lit, and each location has a private security guard service. Also, Houston Airports works closely with its parking operators and the Houston Police Department to have crime deterrents at all parking facilities. From January 1, 2022, to June 30, 2022, more than 244,800 ecopark users have experienced our efforts which have resulted in 99.97% of customers using our facilities without a security incident.

Houston Airports constantly reviews how to better safeguard passengers' vehicles while they are traveling and in addition to the crime deterrents in our parking facilities, we are grateful to the officers of the Houston Police Department who assist us every day in safeguarding our parking facilities.

Houston Airports cares about its passengers and their property. There are multiple cameras at all parking locations, our lots are well lit, and each location has a private security guard service. Also, Houston Airports works closely with its parking operators and the Houston Police Department to have crime deterrents at all parking facilities. From January 1, 2022, to June 30, 2022, more than 244,800 ecopark users have experienced our efforts which have resulted in 99.97% of customers using our facilities without a security incident."

For more on this story, follow Mycah Hatfield on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.