DENVER — A Littleton couple is demanding answers after their truck was stolen from a parking lot at Denver International Airport in late May.
“That’s our truck going through there. I identify it by wheels, by the light bar I have on it,” said Scott Stapp.
Jane Sale and Scott Stapp say their lives revolve around their 2006 Ford F-250 Super Duty truck, or their lives once did. “We camp, we boat, we need the truck to pull and do our life,” said Jane Sale.
They parked their truck in DIA’s West parking lot, dropping it off around 4:45 a.m. May 27th only to realize it was missing when they got back to DIA on May 29th around 9 p.m.
“I know where we park and it's just not here,” said Stapp. “We got no compassion from the get-go. From the security guard in the parking lot to the police officer who came and got our statement,” said Sale.
To try and get more answers, they reached out to Contact Denver7 for help. “It’s shocking, surprising, disappointing, frustrating,” said Stapp.
The couple tells Contact Denver7 they filed a records request to get surveillance video at the exit of the west lot. The time stamp on the video shows their truck leaving the lot about an hour after they parked it. Then a second truck leaving right after.
“Unbelievable that it didn’t have to stop. It was unrestricted. Just driving by at a good rate of speed too,” said Stapp.
Not long after that, an employee appears and blocks the lane with cones.
“I would like the contract company to explain why vehicles are leaving the parking lot without being restricted or have to pay,” said Stapp.
Contact Denver7 reached out to the Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force or CMATT who says most car thefts at the airport are accompanied by an accomplice vehicle and will most likely smash through the gate, while the second vehicle follows.
When that happens, an employee will typically put up cones until the gate is fixed. Contact Denver7 also went out to DIA to check out the west lot's exit and the parking arms are in place.
CMATT shared data from the Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center that came out at the end of March, showing car thefts at DIA are up 16 percent while Metro Denver thefts are down 23 percent.
CMATT says Ford F-150 and 250 trucks are some of the top vehicles stolen in the Denver Metro this year.
“It doesn't have a fob or alarms on it so it can be easily targeted,” said Stapp.
Contact Denver7 also reached out to Denver Police who patrols DIA. DPD says they can't speak to specifics of the case but can say it's being investigated.
Meanwhile, the couple got a call they never expected.
“The Aurora Police Department called us around midnight last night, said the truck was recovered,” said Stapp.
Aurora Police found the truck in the 1200 Block of North Yuba Street around 10:30 Tuesday night, likely abandoned there. They say a neighbor spotted the truck on Friday, looked inside and saw it was damaged, so they called police. No arrests have been made and the truck is being held at the impound lot.
Both Stapp and Sale says something needs to be done so this doesn't keep happening.
“I hope somebody can be held accountable for what's happening in those parking lots,” said Stapp.
Contact Denver7 also reached out to DIA. They released this statement:
"DEN is working with DPD to investigate this incident. We take our passengers’ safety very seriously. Our airport has more than 40,000 public parking spaces, the largest concentration in the state. The airport and DPD teamed up to increase patrols around DEN public parking areas but with so much ground to cover, we ask that passengers be extra vigilant when parking their cars."
It is imperative passengers take the proper steps to secure their vehicle. Below are some tips to better protect vehicles:
• Always lock your car, roll up the windows and take your keys with you.
• Remove valuables or spare keys from your vehicle.
• Never leave the car running unattended, even for a short period of time.
• Park in well-lit and/or busy areas when possible.
• Use an alarm system and/or steering wheel lock device.
Anyone who parks at the airport should call 303-342-4211 immediately to report suspicious activity. This is a direct line to DPD onsite at DEN.”
DPD released this statement:
The Denver Police Department continues to work at preventing auto thefts at DEN, while investigating stolen vehicles. DPD works with our partners at DEN to identify areas of concerns and utilizes resources to reduce stolen vehicles through proactive and targeted patrols. Additionally, we work with regional partners on investigating these incidents and holding offenders accountable. DPD offers tools to drivers to decrease the likelihood of their vehicles from being stolen, such as distributing free steering wheel locks, and encouraging participation in the DenverTrack [denvergov.org] program.