Is store liable for stolen vehicle in their parking lot?

There is a home improvement chain that is notorious for having cars, specially work vans, stolen from their stores. My husband’s van was stolen and there was multiple customers waiting for the police to file a report. This was a running joke among HD staff. When is a company liable if they are aware of a recurrent criminal activity on their premises?

Asked on May 18, 2017 under Business Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The company is NOT liable: a store is not responsible for the criminal acts of other people. So just as you would not be liable if you live in a high-car-theft area and friend's car was stolen from in front of your house or even from your driveway, so, too, is the store is not liable for a car being stolen by other persons from its lot. Person or business A is not responsible when person B elects to break the law. This is why it is important to have comprehensive (e.g. theft) insurance on vehicles: for when there is no one else you can hold liable for a loss.

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