MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A car filled with weeks worth of clothing, electronics, children’s toys, and necessities was abruptly stolen from a family making a quick stop in Memphis during their vacation.
Nicole and Andrew Carter say their stop in Memphis was an unforgettable experience, but not for the right reasons.
“It just blows my mind that it happened right in broad daylight,” said Andrew.
The Colorado couple says they were traveling with their kids to visit relatives on the East Coast Thursday. After driving roughly 19 hours, they decided to make a stop at the Residence Inn Hotel in downtown Memphis to get some rest.
“We saw it had valet service. We’re like ok it should be at least a safer part of Memphis we hoped,” said Nicole.
The Carters say they walked inside the hotel to check in, and they left all of their belongings in their vehicle and their car key with the valet. When they looked outside, they saw someone driving their vehicle away, but it was not valet behind the wheel.
“I thought he was playing a joke on me. I was like ‘What do you mean? You have the keys. Like, come on’. He’s like ‘No, I’m telling you it wasn’t us. It wasn’t the valet that took your car,'” said Andrew.
Andrew Carter says their 2021 Nissan Rogue is a push to start and was running when he walked away.
He says that a couple of men came up to him and the Valet trying to hand out flyers for a basketball camp or something similar.
“Valet was trying to shoo them away, and we both kind of got distracted as [my wife] was checking in and I had my one-year-old in one arm and grabbing my five-year-old here. As soon as we walked in the entrance, they just came and hopped right in,” said Andrew.
The Carters say thieves got away with all of their belongings including a camera, wallet, and a ton of their kid’s clothes and toys.
“My purple blanket and my giraffe blanket. They stole them. People stole them,” said one of the children.
However, the family says they are grateful that their kids weren’t still in the car at the time of the theft.
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“I’m just glad that our kids weren’t in the car because [police] pretty much said that our kids would’ve been kidnapped. They would’ve drove away with them. They wouldn’t have cared,” said Nicole.
The family has since left Memphis thanks to family members who traveled hours to get them.
The Carters say they were unable to get a rental because they don’t have their debit cards and they couldn’t travel by air because they don’t have their IDs.
“It’s not about finding the car or the stuff. It’s just about family right now,” said Andrew.
Their 2021 Nissan Rogue has not been recovered, according to Memphis Police. The family has set up a GoFundMe in the meantime.
WREG also reached out to Marriott for a statement but we are still waiting for a response.
Car thefts in the city of Memphis continue to rise with more than 12,000 vehicles being stolen this year so far, according to the city of Memphis data hub.