Luxury Car Thefts Plague Paid Parking Lots Near Narita Airport; Police Suspect Thieves Are Using Keys Kept On-Site

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Narita Airport

Multiple luxury cars have been stolen from paid parking lots near Narita Airport in a spree targeting users who left their keys with parking lot operators.

A total of nine cars, including five Toyota Lexus and Mercedes-Benz vehicles, were stolen from a paid parking lot in Narita City between 12:20 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the local police. The keys are thought to have been stolen from an adjacent management office where a window had been broken during the theft.

Approximately ¥200,000 in cash was also stolen, according to parking lot officials.

Many other cars, including a Toyota Prius and Alphard, were stolen at night on June 10 from another paid parking lot located a few hundred meters away. The police are investigating any possible connection between the incidents.

Customers using the parking lots hand their cars over to the operators before departure. When the customers return to Japan, some operators drive the cars to the airport to hand them over. Operators keep the keys because they often move the cars around to make efficient use of space inside the parking lot.

A major factor contributing to the thefts is that the cars’ security systems are not activated if the keys, which are stored in the office, are used to unlock the doors or start the engines.

A 40-year-old worker at a nearby parking lot said that his company blocks the entrance with multiple cars at night to prevent vehicles from being taken out.

“It’s difficult to prevent thefts completely. We can only take physical measures to make it time-consuming to steal the cars,” he said.