ORLANDO, Fla. — The Rivera family lives in Temple Terrace but were flying out of Orlando for their spring break trip to Puerto Rico. They parked their SUV at BMI Smart-Parking, an offsite lot near the Orlando International Airport.
Kiara Rivera said BMI offered shuttles to and from the airport and requires customers to leave their car keys with a lot attendant.
Their return flight was scheduled to arrive late. And Rivera, who was traveling with her husband and four children, “wanted to make sure someone would be available to pick us up and take us back to their parking facility.”
But their Dodge Durango didn’t stay parked for long. Four days after dropping the car off, Rivera said Orlando Police called to notify her that someone drove off with her SUV.
A toll receipt dated March 10 shows the thief was driving the Dodge just hours after the family left it in BMI’s lot. And Rivera showed ABC Action News a toll bill that records the vehicle cruising around Orlando for four days before someone crashed it into a tree.
Rivera says she never got a call from BMI. “They realized the car was not in the lot,” she said. “But they didn’t know that until I called them.”
The family asked BMI for help getting them back home to Tampa but told ABC Action News they got no response. They shelled out money for a motel, food, and Uber rides until a family member could pick them up a day later.
Rivera said they discovered the thieves had swiped her vehicle registration which showed their address.
“You know, we didn’t know what we’re going to come back to,” she said. Thieves also took her garage door opener.
An adjuster determined the Dodge was a total loss, forcing the family to purchase a new car. Kiara Rivera said BMI refused to provide insurance information so they could file a claim.
“I just want them to take care of the expenses. We spent the hotel where we were stranded, the Uber rides, and provide the insurance information,” she said. She would like her insurance company to recover the money “so that my premium doesn’t go up.”
ABC Action News spoke to BMI’s manager by phone. He would not comment on what happened or how the vehicle was stolen. He did say the company had beefed up security and that they would share their insurance information with the Riveras.
The Riveras confirmed the company has since turned over their insurance information. Their auto insurance paid out $20,000 for their Dodge and now their policyholder will likely go after BMI for reimbursement.
Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.