HOUSTON — Thieves stole wheels off two cars in the ecopark lot at Bush Intercontinental Airport last week.
Since January, 15 victims filed theft from vehicle reports in the same lot at Greens and John F. Kennedy Boulevard, according to crime stats.
The airport bears no responsibility, a spokesperson said.
“They said I was responsible for all of the damages,” said Kenneth Owens, II, whose 2019 Toyota Camry had four wheels stolen last Sunday.
After landing and taking a shuttle to the lot, Owens discovered his 2019 Toyota Camry sitting on the ground. Repairs will cost $5,600, he said.
However, Houston Police and airport managers blew his mind when they accepted no responsibility for what happened.
“I said are there cameras,” Owens said. “They said, 'Sir, there are only cameras at the entrance and the exit.'"
That same day, thieves also stole three wheels from the car of an ecopark employee parked near Owens, according to Houston Police.
“There’s over 6,500 parking spaces here, and I’m assuming that everybody is probably assuming the same thing: that your car, your vehicle is going to be the same way you left it," Owens said.
Liability for damage lies with whoever holds the keys, an airport spokesman said. So unless customers leave their keys with employees at city-owned lots, the city is not liable for damage. Those terms are posted on the airport’s website.
Valet parking is an option. However, it can cost nearly five times as much as ecopark.
Even in terminal parking garages where valet and self-park service is offered, KHOU 11 discovered 50 reports of theft from vehicles. The ecopark2 lot had no such reports.
“If there’s no eyes on our vehicles, there’s no eyes on the thief,” Owens said. “I know something needs to happen immediately.”
Owens is a musician and North Forest High School choir teacher who flies several times a month. He always parked in the ecopark lot because it seemed secure behind gates, fencing with barbed wire and a lookout tower.
The city offers no property damage protection there, though. Now stuck with rental and repair bills, Owens said he will avoid city-owned lots until there are more cameras and security.
“I feel bamboozled,” Owens said. “We pay for services. We pay for our vehicles to be taken care of, and they need to make some changes.”
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