Walmart Automotive: Woman Is Compensated After Car Gets Stolen During Oil Change

A Walmart automotive department compensated a woman recently after her car was stolen during an oil change. Annabel Vasquez reportedly dropped her car off two months ago at an Odessa, Texas, Walmart automotive parking lot for a quick routine oil change. After leaving her car keys at the service desk, Vasquez went shopping inside the Walmart for over an hour. During that time, police say someone managed to distract the cashier, take the car keys off the desk, and drive Vasquez’s car straight off the Walmart automotive parking lot like they owned it.

Walmart has been paying the cost of a rental car for Vasquez since her car was stolen in March from automotive. Walmart only recently decided that since the automotive department was indeed at fault for Vasquez’s stolen car, then they should reimburse her for a new one, according to KOSA CBS 7 out of Odessa, who reported on Wednesday that Walmart finally cut Vasquez a check for $6,500 towards the purchase of another car. Vasquez says her stolen 2008 Chrysler Sebring was worth more than the amount compensated to her by the Walmart, but took the final assessed amount because she “needs her own vehicle.”

According to Odessa police, over 40 vehicles are stolen every month, but not all of them off the Walmart automotive parking lot at 4210 John Ben Sheppard Parkway. However, a study done recently by The British Journal of Criminology shows that Walmart is indeed linked to higher crime rates. The “Walmart effect on crime” study was done in 2014 and focuses on Walmart crime from 1991 through 2009. Results of the study show that counties in the United States that have at least one Walmart report higher crime rates. The study went on to say that counties without a Walmart had crime rates that fell significantly per capita over the 18-year time period.

“If the corporation built a new store, there were 17 additional property crimes and 2 additional violent crimes for every 10,000 persons in a county.”

Of course, a spokeswoman for Walmart, Dianna Gee, disputes the findings of the study, saying the results are flawed by outdated information and doesn’t take into account the positive impacts that Walmart has on communities. However, another analysis of crime at Walmart published on the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union website,, is pretty much in line with the results of the BJC study. The UFCW study, which was published in 2006, was reportedly prompted by growing concerns from citizen groups, local communities, and even associates of Walmart.

According to Walmart Senior Manager API, Tom Rinehart, crime in Walmart parking lots, not just Walmart automotive parking lots, was on a rapid increase, especially in the region 10 area of Florida where people were afraid to visit Walmart stores during the evening hours.

The conclusion of the study, which looked at police reported incidents from 551 Walmart stores nationwide in 2004, found that Walmart has a “significant number of police incidents, and Walmart has a higher average rate of police incidents than one of its closest competitors, Target.” In fact, auto thefts from Walmart parking lots was the second most reported serious crime taken from the study of sample stores.

But there are ways to protect your car from being stolen straight off the Walmart automotive parking lot, as well as other Walmart parking lot areas. Tips from the Blue Collar Workman, a blog published by an actual former car thief who goes by the name TB, suggest that car owners should keep stereo faceplates in the glove box, use a vehicle steering wheel lock, make sure the car alarm has a blinking dashboard light, lock important stuff in the trunk, and park under a streetlamp.

But even taking all those precautions won’t necessarily keep your car safe from being stolen, according to the Blue Collar Workman, who says sometimes there’s not anything a car owner can do to avoid a break-in and theft. In fact, a spokesperson for the Odessa police, Steve LeSueur, said Annabel Vasquez didn’t do anything wrong when her car was stolen from the Walmart automotive parking lot, saying in this case, the person or business Vasquez entrusted to watch over her vehicle is to blame.

[Image via Ken Wolter /]