Thieves target vehicles at Detroit federal building parking lot

Employees at McNamara Federal Building say car break-ins are big problem for them

By Karen Drew - Reporter/Anchor


At first glance, one downtown Detroit parking lot appears to be a safe spot.

It's just a few steps away from the McNamara Federal Building. Magda Hall thought it was safe. She was working on Saturday to pick up some overtime hours and earn extra cash for Christmas gifts. However, her thoughts changes when she went out to start her car at 3 p.m. head back home.

"I get in the car and it sounded like it wanted to explode. This loud, wrenching pop. Smoke started coming out," Hall said.

She looked under the car to find her catalytic converter stolen.

"As I get on the ground and look under the whole converter is gone," she said. "And my front of the muffler is just hanging."

Hall talked to two other workers in the McNamara Building that day to find out they were targeted, too. The victims can't believe someone could be sawing off car parts in the middle of the day without being noticed in the parking lot.

"The car is very visible. Plain daylight. Middle of the afternoon. People are walking all up and down Michigan Avenue," Hall said.

It is not the first time there have been break-ins reported at the lot. One federal worker tells Local 4 he had his car broken into twice within the past year at the same lot.

Federal workers are afraid to go on camera to tell Local 4 they are frustrated more is not being done to protect them and their cars, and to protect the federal building itself.

Central Parking System manages the lot. A worker there told Local 4 they do not provide security on the weekend. That's disappointing news for Hall who will have to spend $1,000 for repairs to her vehicle.

"Now I'm paying four times as much as I am actually getting paid," she said.

Detroit police say they are investigating the reported thefts in the parking lot.

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