Woman’s car gone after Henrico hotel clerk gave keys to wrong person

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A silver 1996 Acura 2.5 TL is all Shelby Durham said she had left after she lost her job and her home. She’s now even more upset because last weekend she said that too, was taken from her.

The reported car theft also wiped out many of her children’s possessions. She said the car was stolen from outside a West End hotel where she was staying with her two children and her boyfriend.

“Cars seats, strollers, a full box of wipes," Durham said. "There was paperwork in there because my son had just gotten out of the hospital. So a lot of stuff that I need is now gone.”

The mom of two is staying at the Hotel-I 64 in the 6500 block of West Broad Street.

She said Saturday after coming back in from running errands, her hands were full. She said she was carrying her one-year-old baby, her bags, and she was getting her vomiting two-year-old child out of the back seat.

Durham mistakenly left the car keys dangling in the door, she said.

A good Samaritan, James Coleman spotted Durham’s keys and turned them into the hotel’s front desk. But before he went in, he said a man approached him about the keys.

“He said he thought the keys belonged to a lady with two children,” Coleman said. That woman had been staying on the same floor as Durham, according to the hotel manager who spoke with CBS 6. Both Coleman and Durham said that other woman looked at the car keys and told the clerk that they were not her keys. Moments later, Durham said the man who approached Coleman went back to the front desk.

"He said he was there to get the keys for the woman," Durham said.

Soon thereafter, Durham said she discovered her car was missing.

Coleman said he felt terrible about the whole ordeal.

He said that he turned the keys in because he feared if he left them in the car door, someone would come along and steal the vehicle. He said he never expected the keys to be given away to someone without any verification.

"The clerk did not do due diligence. There has to be some type of verification. You don’t just hand the keys to any person. I mean, verify something. The license plate, the registration. Tell what’s in the car and things like that,” Coleman said.

Henrico Police verified Durham filed a police report that day. Now she is begging anyone who sees the silver Acura TL to contact police.

"I’ve called tow companies and it’s not there," Durham said. "I’ve called junkyards and parts places in case they try to sell it. It’s not there. So to me, that means it is still out here somewhere."

She also wants police to review hotel surveillance video so they can see who got their hands on her keys and her car.