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Teen car theft suspect peddles story about being in distress before stealing keys

Posted at 5:36 PM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 18:44:34-04

AURORA, Colo. — Multiple people have reached out to Denver7 saying a teenage girl tricked them into letting her into their homes for help and then stole their car keys.

An unexpected knock on the door startled Giovanna Vermilye and her boyfriend, John Porst, but when they opened the door they saw a teenage girl standing outside who said she needed help.

“She asked if we had an iPhone charger because her phone was dead," Vermiley said. "She said was stranded and she just needed to call her mom to get a ride home.”

Vermilye is a mom and thought about her own daughters, so she invited the girl inside. They offered her water and even offered to drive her home. She said the girl stayed for about an hour before heading out the door, but Vermilye didn’t know she had her keys.

“We didn’t notice until after she left because nobody is thinking she’s taking our car,” Vermilye said.

About 15 minutes after the girl left, they decided to run to the grocery store but no one could find the keys. When Porst looked outside he was shocked.

“We just couldn’t believe it. We knew that we parked there, and the car was just gone,” Porst said.

They filed a report with the Aurora Police Department, then Porst joined several Facebook groups in an attempt to find the car. He created a post detailing their story, and a woman reached out to him saying the same thing happened to her.

“We called her and she talked about basically the same exact story as us — said a girl comes knocking, needed help,” Porst said.

Vermilye’s car was recovered on Wednesday in the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex. Aurora police confirmed they arrested a 17-year-old suspect in connection with the case. A spokesperson said they are also investigating to see if the teenage suspect is connected with other recent car thefts.

“I let her in my house, I give her a charger to charge her own phone and water, food. She does call someone, and in that time she is able to snag my car key off my ring and steal my car,” Alexis Simmons said.

Denver7 has talked with three potential victims, each with a similar story. Simmons said she didn’t think twice about letting the girl in because she looked so scared.

“I’m a victim of domestic violence, and I found it as another woman to help a younger woman, put her in a safe position, find just a safe place for her to be and to know that it was all a lie, and she’s been telling other people the same story,” Simmons said.

Simmons lives in the complex where Vermilye’s car was discovered and wonders if the girl lives in the area. Her car, a 1997 Nissan Altima, is still missing.

“It also hurts that I’m a single mom without a car now,” Simmons said.