Woman's Car Stolen When Miami Beach Hotel Had Possession of Her Keys

A relaxing vacation took a turn in the wrong direction for one Florida woman after she says her car was stolen while the keys were in the possession of a local hotel.

She reached out to NBC 6 Responds after her communication with hotel management went cold.

Diana Hechavarria says her trip to South Florida is one she will never forget.

“I was really sad, a little disillusioned with what happened,” Hechavarria told us.

Her 2012 C250 Mercedes- Benz was stolen from the Oceanside Hotel in Miami Beach where she was staying.

The whole incident caught on surveillance video.

“You see these three individuals come to the front desk kind of look around grab the keys, go into a closet at the hotel, take some luggage, walk to my car, open the trunk, put the luggage in and drive off,” said Hechavarria as she described the surveillance video.

Hechavarria says she left her car keys with a front desk employee earlier that night. She says guests were asked to leave their keys when they left the property without their vehicles.

“I asked if I indeed had to leave the keys and he said yes, so I left the keys with him, left in my Uber," she said. "And didn’t think twice about it.” 

The surveillance video shows a hotel employee walk out of the lobby, leaving the keys unattended, minutes before three men enter the hotel.

“You expect a business to take care of your property as if it were their own, but then you realize individuals don’t really care about your property as you care about your property,” said Hechavarria.

“It seems like they didn’t take any what I would consider reasonable precaution to make sure those keys were protected and safe,” said Attorney Bonnie Riley.

According to Riley, a business or hotel is expected to take 'reasonable or ordinary care' of items in their possession. But in court, it is the responsibility of the property owner to prove negligence.

It’s why she says you need to ask questions up front.

“You might want to ask them, where they are parking the car, who has access to the keys, who is watching the keys, do they lock the car when they leave,” said Riley.

She says it is good to document as much as possible if something comes up missing.

In Diana’s case, she reported the incident to police but didn’t get anything in writing about the incident from hotel management.

She says hotel management bought her a plane ticket back home but did not follow up on a promise to pay her insurance deductible and other transportation-related expenses.

She now has advice for others.

“Make sure you know who you are dealing with and there is some type of contract beforehand to make sure you know who is liable for what so you don’t find yourself in this situation,” said Hechavarria.

Oceanside Hotel and its parent company, South Beach Group Hotels, both declined to comment.

Hechavarria's stolen car was found crashed in another state. Her insurance company declared it a total loss. No one has been arrested in the crime.

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