BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Patricia Klinger was shopping at the K-Mart on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga Wednesday night, when a thief removed the entire locking mechanism from Klinger's van and stole all of the toys she had just bought her 8-year-old daughter for Christmas.
"[We] came back out. I went to go stick my key in the hole, to unlock my door, and noticed that there was nothing there. And we noticed the bag was gone," Klinger said.
She alerted K-Mart security, and was shocked at what they told her.
Klinger said, "That, you know, they were just loss prevention. They didn't have anything to do. It was the property manager's responsibility."
The property manager is Benderson Development.
"I called Benderson; they basically laughed at me and said that they're not responsible. It's a parking lot. You shop at your own risk," Klinger said.
She wants others to know what she learned the hard way - if your holiday packages are stolen, you can't count on the stores to help you.
Police recommend several safety tips to keep you, and your valuables, safe:
1. When you get to your destination, don't leave any of your valuables in your car. Take your wallet, your cell phone, your keys, GPS systems, loose change, chargers and mounts... anything else someone might want to steal.
2. Make sure you park in a well-lighted area, not someplace that's dark or isolated.
3. Don't leave shopping bags or packages in plain sight. Hide them in your trunk before you go to your next destination -- if you put them away just before heading into a store, someone may be watching.
4. Most importantly, lock your car.
Klinger has just one thing to say to K-Mart and Benderson.
"You ought to be ashamed of yourselves, that you don't protect your shoppers. People are there, spending their money... and you can't even protect them or the things that belong to them."
Unfortunately, if this happens to you, you don't have much recourse. Klinger filed a report with Cheektowaga Police; they told her to try going through her car insurance company.
She ended up going back to Target, and buying the gifts all over again.
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