Car stolen from local repair shop: Who's liable? | Automotive

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Car stolen from local repair shop: Who's liable?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tina Wilson has heard of the bizarre but she said her experience seems to take the cake.

"I have never experienced something so outrageous," she said.

The car Tina Wilson is now driving is not hers -- it is a loaner. Her  2010 Hyundai Santa Fe was stolen by teenagers. The manner in which it was stolen is what's strange.

"What surprises me is that the keys were given away with no ID required, no questioning," said Wilson. 

Wilson said her parents dropped off her vehicle at the Tires Plus on Lem Turner Road for four new tires and she was supposed to pick up. When she tried it was already gone.

"The employee behind the counter explained how much it would cost," said Wilson, "and as I looked around I asked 'where is my car?'"

The store manager, Tommy Warren, said the car was in the parking lot when teenagers showed up and said they were there to pick up the car. 

Sales associate Tony Elian said they asked for the keys to get something from the car and that was the last time they saw them and the car.

"We were told someone else would be coming to pick up the car so we assumed it was them," said Warren.

Warren said this is not common and as a result, business practices have changed.

"Now we verify if a third party is involved," said Warren.

The car is still missing and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating.

Tires Plus, in the meantime, is paying for the rental Wilson is driving.

"In fairness to them, they are trying to resolve it," said Wilson.

She would like this to be over soon and said from now on, she will be more careful whenever she takes a vehicle to a repair shop.

"The point is to be very careful where you leave your car. If you're not comfortable with the people who you are turning your over keys to, then you shouldn't use that business," she said.

Most repair shops have disclaimers that state cars are left at the owner's risk.

It is not that simple. If your vehicle is lost or stolen while it's in the garage, the shop is legally responsible if it did not take reasonable care.

If there are any doubts, you can always contact your own auto insurance policy and let them deal with the garage's insurer. 

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