Driver shocked when he sees what happened to his car parked at Sea-Tac Airport

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SEATAC, Wash.  — You might want to think twice about where you park your car the next time you fly out of Sea-Tac. A driver returned to the airport garage Wednesday night and found out all four of his wheels and tires gone.

“It’s still sitting there because I’m dealing with how I get the car out of there.”

Jason Cole is home in Auburn now. But his car is still in Sea-Tac, because there’s no way to drive it. While he was away on a business trip, someone stole his wheels and left his car up on jacks.

“You’re thinking there are a lot of cars around and a lot of people, it’s pretty secure in there. You do pay a lot of money to park your car there.”

The Port of Seattle Police patrol the airport garage, and there are some surveillance cameras. But airport officials tell us crime does still happen.

“We’ve had 2.4 million cars last year go through our garage,” says airport spokesman Perry Cooper. “This year, we've only had 35 car prowls. So that's a fraction of 1  percent. Unfortunately if it's your car, you don't care what that small percentage is.”

Cole is frustrated that he wasn’t contacted right when the theft was discovered.

“Not a lot of phone numbers are connected with license plate numbers,” explains Cooper. “So for most of these situations, we have to wait for that person to come back.”

“They could have handled it differently, maybe paid for my parking or offered something like that,” says Cole, who paid more than $100 to leave his car in the garage for three days.

There are signs in the garage that warn drivers to lock their doors. But many say this kind of crime is different.

“I know I’m responsible for stuff stolen out of my car,” says Michael Santiago. “But something this atrocious, you have to imagine they have to have some responsibility.”

He is now wondering if he should park somewhere else the next time he flies out.

“I thought about it. I've got a totally non-sexy electric vehicle, so I don't have too much of a fear. But it does give you pause.”

Cole says he probably won’t take the chance in the garage again.

“For everybody out there that parks there, hopefully the security will get better and they'll rectify it. But when you do park there, just know that there's a risk.”

Port of Seattle Police think this theft happened sometime Sunday. If you saw anything, you're asked to contact them.

On Friday night, Cooper said they would be waiving the parking fees that Cole paid.

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18 comments

  • Tae

    In April of 2013 a friend and I parked in front the of Goodwill here in Silverdale. We went in and came back not even 15 minutes later. In that time, someone had stolen my front right wheel. It’s not like I had a great car or anything. It was a ’98 Chevy Cavalier. And the parking lot was crowded. I can definitely sympathize with him and I hope that they find out who did this.

  • Shelly

    The only person responsible was the person who committed the crime. Sorry, but this blaming someone other than the criminal needs to stop. Everyone wants a paycheck I guess..

    • Chal

      Well first off his insurance will take care of the theft and where does it say he’s looking for a paycheck? Anyway, you are wrong Shelly, when you park somewhere that you pay for and it provides security then they have responsibility. Why do they provide security you might ask? Because you’ve paid for and entrusted your vehicle to them, you’ve created what is known as a bailment. You might want to check up on how LAW works when you’ve given someone a payment for services, bailments. As the victim said, you’d think they at the very least have offered to refund for his parking. As for the cost of the theft, we all get to shoulder that in our insurance rates.

      • Jessica

        Nope, you’re wrong Chal. Bailment doesn’t apply. It’s unfortunate, but the airport and parking company aren’t liable. Same as if someone broke into or crashed into the car, not liable. There are signs stating not responsible for theft or damage. It’s a public gatage. Even in a private lot with surveillance and security, liability is very limited. All that can be done is filing a police report and hope the investigation is fruitful. Look it up, know what you’re talking about before you blast someone else.

  • BearTex3

    Take a cab or the airporter or get dropped off. I put a lot of trust in society but not at an airport. In my opinion the airport has some of the biggest criminals working there.

  • Freddy

    I used to live in Des Moines about 15 mins from sea tac. Went outside one day and found my Nissan altima just like that. Filed a report with the cops….they never got back to me.

    • ontheboat

      Not really. My ex’s tires were stolen, replacements cost $1700 EACH and the bolt pattern from a mini cooper fit dozens of other cars.

      When I lived in LA somebody stole a couple 8D batteries out of the boat. Now that’s a LOT of work to get $20 worth of Lead!!!

    • Sara

      Its because the rents have doubled/tripled sending once functional citizens to move out or become homeless. Seniors/ disabled/students/ and low income earners have been pushed out of the way for big cash grabs by landlords and developers. No cheap housing so desperate people take desperate measures. Its a silent genocide that is taking out everyone from upper middle class to subsidised/homeless class. They cant find a place/ depressed and homeless turn to substances or crime. Seattle is now for those making upper middle class and above. If you cant afford 1,500-2,000 for rent dont come here! Most of the cheap places and group housing has been upgraded or torn down so thats why you see a lot of tents and RVs. Have fun getting robbed rich people you did it to yourselves!

  • April

    Or you could park at MasterPark? 24hour on-site staff, lights and fully fenced and secured lots and cheaper than the airport!

  • Tori Skidori

    It’s a risk to leave your car parked at an airport while on a trip. A suggestion I have seen is to take your registration with you so that your address is not in the car. Otherwise it could be more than your wheels that gets ripped off.

  • Sara

    My sister just arrived home from a weekend trip to find her car completely stolen. Not how you want to return from a trip with tired 5 and three year old. Especially when you trust a place to watch for that. Why do we pay these garages??