Car thieves targeting valet workers is growing problem in Atlanta, police say

ATLANTA – When valet companies take your keys and park your car, it’s their responsibility to make sure the keys don’t get into the wrong hands.

With workers moving so fast, they don’t always lock the metal box full of keys. At times, they leave it unattended.

“We had quite a few of these incidents where we had suspects preying upon the valet people at hotels, restaurants and things of that nature,” Atlanta police Officer Jarius Daugherty said.

Atlanta police are looking for a group of car thieves who waited and watched for the right moment to steal keys from a parking lot valet over the weekend.

Last Saturday, police said the thieves targeted a restaurant and shopping plaza on Howell Mill Road in northwest Atlanta.

Around 9 p.m., the group of people grabbed keys from the valet box. They tried to steal five different cars, police said.

An off-duty Atlanta police officer, who was working an extra job, saw what the criminals were doing.

Police said the thieves were hitting the alarm buttons to see what cars they were about to steal. The off-duty officer chased the thieves away before they could take any cars, police said.

If the trend continues, valet companies may have to hire their own security.

Atlanta police told Channel 2 Action News criminals targeting valets workers is a growing problem.

“It’s definitely concerning to us,” Daugherty said. “It was enough of a problem to have a sit down with management and valet companies to say, ‘Hey, we’re seeing these trends, and we want to try and get this stamped out.'”

Police are still looking for last Saturday’s car thieves who got away. They’re also investigating to see if the same group is doing this all over town.

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