MERRIAM, Kan. — Four people dropped their cars off at a local CarMax to get their cars serviced, only to find out their cars were stolen right off the lot.
Kara Humphreys says as soon as she walked through the doors at the Merriam CarMax, something wasn’t quite right.
“Somebody directed us to go back outside and put our keys into the envelope and put it in the drop box even though they were still open,” she said.
Putting their trust into the dealership, Kara and her husband did what they were told–and dropped off the keys to their 2013 Lincoln MKZ for a routine service inspection. But a call they received they following Monday, Humphreys says they didn’t expect.
“CarMax called my husband around 4:30 p.m. yesterday and asked him if he did not drop his vehicle off, because they didn’t have the car keys.” she said.
She said if the car theft itself didn’t surprise her, it was CarMax failing to tell her upfront, that her car was stolen.
“My fist question was, why did you wait until 4 p.m. to call me and why did you not tell me my vehicle was missing upfront?”
According to police, Humphreys vehicle wasn’t the only car taken off the dealership lot. A total of four cars disappeared from the CarMax parking lot between Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
Leaving Humpreys to believe the thefts weren’t by chance.
“Whoever did this, clearly knew what they were doing,” she said. I don’t think this was a coincidence or a random auto theft.”
In a statement, CarMax said “The security of our customers’ vehicles is a top priority for CarMax. We are sorry this incident occurred, and we are managing the insurance claims through CarMax’s insurance and will cover the cost of the vehicles.”
Merriam Police Cpt. Duvanel Merriam said authorities can’t confirm whether the thefts were an inside job, but did say investigators were working to question employees and review any available video footage of the incident.
“In this instance the victims were doing what they asked, it’s not like somebody left a key in a vehicle running,” he said.
In the meantime, Humphreys said her family will rely on the help of police, insurance, and CarMax to help them recover.
“It seemed secure,” Humphreys said. “I would have never thought my car would have been stolen off a dealership lot”
CarMax also confirmed the dealership would improve security functions at the Merriam location, and provided this statement:
The security of our customers’ vehicles is a top priority for CarMax. We are sorry this incident occurred, and we are managing the insurance claims through CarMax’s insurance and will cover the cost of the vehicles. We are installing a fortified lockbox and want customers to know they can feel secure in dropping off their cars for service. In addition, we are evaluating our security procedures and will make any necessary changes.
We will continue to work closely with local law enforcement in their investigation and have provided them with surveillance footage. We appreciate the local police department’s quick response and excellent partnership.
CarMax’s service department is closed on Sundays. Our process is to instruct customers to deposit their keys in the store’s lock box so a service representative may access them on Monday. Until the fortified lock box is installed we have changed this process to ensure the keys are handed directly to an associate from another department.
There is no indication of any internal involvement in the incident based on both CarMax’s investigation and the police investigation at this point.
We contacted impacted customers as soon as we learned about the situation and are working with them individually to meet their needs.CarMax