Car break-in at Charlotte hotel steals SC family’s Mexico vacation

A Greenville, S.C., family’s vacation was derailed Saturday when someone broke into their car and stole their passports minutes before they were to head to Charlotte Douglas International Airport for a flight to Mexico.

Julia Schemm, who was traveling with her husband and their 10-year-old triplets, said she and her family took precautions by keeping their luggage inside their hotel room at Embassy Suites on South Tryon Street overnight.

About 6:15 a.m. Saturday, Schemm’s husband packed the car. He then went to return the luggage cart to the hotel and get his wife, two sons and daughter.

In the 10 minutes Schemm said her husband was away from the car, someone using an “unknown tool” broke into the driver’s side of their locked Chevrolet Suburban and stole three pieces of luggage, which contained everyone’s passports, according to a police report.

About $850 worth of property, including the passports, was stolen from the Schemm’s car, the report states. In addition, $150 in cash was stolen, which Schemm said was her daughter’s birthday money.

But Schemm says much more was stolen.

“They took a trip to Mexico away from us,” Schemm said. “It’s such a feeling of violation.”

The family ended up having to turn around and head back home Saturday, after searching nearby dumpsters to see if their luggage was thrown away.

Schemm said her children had practiced snorkeling all summer in preparation for the trip. She said she is working with a travel agent to get her money back and hopes to reschedule the vacation. The vacation was budgeted to cost about $5,000.

According to the police report, a nearby pickup truck was broken into around the same time. Nothing was reported stolen, but damage to the Ford F-150 was estimated at $200.

Schemm said Embassy Suites gave the family their points back, which they had used to book the hotel room. The hotel also offered to accommodate the family for an additional night.

A representative from Embassy Suites could not immediately be reached for comment.