Family’s car broken into at SLC airport, thieves use garage door opener to break into home

Jun 14, 2023, 7:22 AM | Updated: 11:04 am

LEHI, Utah — A weeklong vacation for the Brown family ended on a sour note when they landed back at the Salt Lake City International Airport.

“We parked our car on level three in the covered parking garage but when we got back after our trip, we couldn’t find it. And I remember where we parked because I took a picture of the stall,” Blake Brown said.

The family asked for assistance from the airport parking attendant, who said a car matching the description was parked on the fifth floor. When they approached the vehicle, they realized it had been rummaged through.

“I saw our glove box, our center console, we didn’t have any valuables in there, they just ripped the whole car apart and it made me think why didn’t (the thieves) just take the car? What were they looking for,” Brown said.

At this point, it was around midnight and the family just wanted to get home. But when they pulled onto their street, they realized something very valuable was missing from their car.

“My wife looks at me and says, ‘Where is our garage door opener?’” Brown said. “Just then we see our house lit up like Christmas. All the lights were on and that’s when our hearts just sank.”

It was evident that their Lehi home was also broken into. The thieves used the garage door opener to get inside. The family believes they used the address listed on their registration in the car’s glove compartment to find their home.

“They came in and just was digging through my kids’ stuff. Even took food, like they were desperate,” Brown said. “There is soda and other fluids that I’m like, I have no idea what this is.”

They decided to stay at a family’s home as they deal with the mess and insurance process. Their 5-year-old daughter has cystic fibrosis and needs to live in a clean environment. Every room in the home was turned upside down and an estimated $15,000 worth of items was stolen.

“They took my Social Security card, took my birth certificate, they ended up opening two credit card accounts,” Brown said.

The thieves also stole the family’s second car. Brown was able to track it on his phone to a parking lot in Sugar House where he confronted the thieves, who sped off and later abandoned the vehicle. Salt Lake City police are investigating that portion of the crime spree.

The car was towed, and Brown said it is now in the process of being drug tested to prevent the family from coming into contact with harmful compounds.

“After finding the needles of drugs in my car, it’s just…they are just trying to find a quick buck and trying to buy more drugs,“ he said. “They are just taking advantage of people that are just trying to live a happy normal life with their families.”

The Browns are warning Utah families to take out any personal information from their car that lists their address, like their registration, which is something the DMV no longer includes because of cases like these.

They also advise taking out garage door openers from your car before leaving on vacation.

Lehi police are looking into this case, hoping surveillance video from the airport garage will help in their investigation. They say additional stolen items were recovered from the Brown’s stolen car that were connected to another theft in Draper.

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Family’s car broken into at SLC airport, thieves use garage door opener to break into home