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

Lileana Pearson Image
Friday, February 24, 2023
Only on 13: Thieves call locksmith to make key for locked F-350 and steal truck
Imagine flying back home from a trip and finding out your vehicle was stolen from a parking garage. One truck owner talks only with ABC13, frustrated a locksmith let a thief get away so easily.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A man flew back home from a business trip only to find his truck stolen from a parking garage near Hobby Airport.

Sean Coffee thinks someone should have noticed something wasn't right.

"To sit there and to allow them to rekey it and steal it for three hours and no one say anything or do anything to stop it is beyond me," Coffee said.

Coffee told ABC13 he parks his car so often at the Park Fast & Relax lot near Hobby while traveling for work.

Coffee said he and the employees there recognize each other. So he was surprised to get back from a work trip Wednesday night and learn from garage staff that a couple reported having no IDs, no key, and no parking ticket but claimed they owned his blue F-350. They called a locksmith, who came in and made a new key.

"I was so tired at the time I was like, 'This is great,'" Coffee said.

Coffee wanted to know how no one put a stop to this, and Eyewitness News did too, so we reached out to a local locksmith company.

Khaled Bakkar works for Automobile Locksmith. He said a locksmith who gets a non-owner into a car and does not verify they are the owner could face legal repercussions.

And while there wasn't anything Coffee could do to prevent the theft, people looking to employ a smith should look for a few green lights.

"Anytime anyone legitimate comes out to you, they need to ask for your driver's license and any proof of ownership," Bakkar said.

The couple, who allegedly claimed to garage staff they did not have IDs, should have been stopped there but were not. You need an ID so it can be verified once the locksmith is inside and has access to the car's registration or bill of sale.

"They should always have something that will match," Bakkar said.

There was the fault of the smith, not verifying their identities, allowing the couple to drive away with this new F-350 and leaving Coffee with quite the mess.

"There were a lot of things that gave them the opportunity to say, 'Hey, wait a minute,'" Coffee said.

The good news is that Coffee got a call from police on Thursday saying his truck had been found at Baymont Wyndham Hotel near Hobby.

Coffee went back to the parking garage to get images of the locksmith and couple, but when he arrived, he was told he needed a court order. We reached out to the manager of the lot but have not heard back.

ABC13 also reached out to Hobby Airport officials to learn more about what they suggest people do if they park their cars in a lot for an extended period. They sent the following reminders:

  • Lock all doors and roll up all windows.
  • Remove all valuables from plain sight. Lock these items in the trunk.
  • Do not leave any valuable items in your car unattended, especially overnight.
  • Do not leave your parking ticket in your vehicle. Take it with you

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