Dallas Police recently recovered the vehicle abandoned and damaged

ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – An Odessa family is slowly moving on with their lives after a bizarre theft in Dallas.

The Garcia family was vacationing in Dallas and used a valet service on Young Street to park their 2017 Dodge Journey. When the family-of-four went to retrieve their SUV, they learned a stranger drove off with their vehicle.

The entire incident was caught on a security camera in the valet’s parking garage.

“We text them, ‘Hey, we’re coming down to get the car,’” Odessa native Linda Garcia recalls. “The guy is like, ‘What? Your car is not here. The key is not here.'”

“I’m like, ‘Hold on…'” Garcia said, exhaling deeply as she revisited that moment of surprise.

Yourbasin.com first spoke with Garcia in mid-July after learning of the theft. The crime occurred over the Fourth of July weekend, when the family was celebrating in Dallas.

Security footage shows a man in a blue shirt speaking with the valet attendant. In the video, the suspect never shows any form of identification, a valet stub, nor proof of ownership.

“He just pointed at our car, and the [attendant] said, ‘Oh, okay,’ hands him the keys, and he drives off in our car,” Garcia said. 

Garcia had been using the valet service for four days. She said her experience is frustrating and bizarre. She still cannot understand why her car keys would be handed off to a complete stranger.

Yourbasin.com has reached out to the valet company multiple times over the course of a month. No response has been given. As Yourbasin.com waits for a direct response from the business, the company’s name is being withheld.

Garcia said she bought the Dodge Journey for her partner as a gift. The family would use the SUV daily to get around town. The vehicle carried special meaning, too. Garcia paid off the vehicle using money her late father had left behind for her.

“I mean it was a little Dodge Journey but it was a vehicle owned. It was ours,” she said.

However, it seemed for a moment that Garcia’s prayers were answered. The Dallas Police Department recovered her vehicle on July 29th. It was found abandoned.

It was not all good news.

“So, we drove down there and it was a waste of time,” Garcia said. “It was pretty much totaled.”

Garcia shared photos of the Dodge Journey. Her family decided to leave the vehicle in Dallas at the lot where it is stored because of its current condition and because of a $500 removal fee.

The right side of the Dodge was “bashed in,” Garcia said. She added that it appeared someone had been living inside the vehicle. There was a fake paper license plate, too. It was attached to the rear, taped over Garcia’s actual license plate.

Garcia only had liability automotive insurance at the time of the theft.

Garcia is a server at Hook N’ Reel in Odessa. She said she and her partner are working as much as they can to save up for a new vehicle.

Garcia and her family have been relying on rideshares like Uber, as well as the goodwill of friends and coworkers to get around.

A few of Garcia’s customers have heard her story and have been generous, too.

But the loss has been significant. The impact continues today.

“It’s sad. It’s heartbreaking. You have something that you own and it’s just taken from you,” she said.

Garcia said the valet company reimbursed her family for the rental car they used to return to Odessa.

A spokesperson for Dallas PD said there have been no arrests in the case.

There is a GoFundMe fundraiser for Garcia and her family to help with costs induced by the theft. Anyone interested in extending a helping hand can find the fundraiser here.