Luxury cars stolen from Atlanta restaurant's valet - CBS46 News

Luxury cars stolen from Atlanta restaurant's valet

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Investigators are trying to track down the thieves who snatched keys from a valet box outside a midtown Atlanta restaurant late Thursday night and stole two luxury cars.

The incident occurred at Ecco on 7th Street.

Prineet Ramakur told CBS46 that he drove his 2014 BMW to the restaurant at about 9 p.m. He left his keys with a valet and went inside to have dinner with a friend. When he tried to leave about an hour-and-a-half later, the attendant told him his keys were missing.

“After like 5 to 10 minutes, I just asked him, ‘Where's my car? Can you show me my car?' And that's when he said, ‘Sir, your car is missing, too,'” said Ramakur.

He quickly learned he wasn't the only victim.

Police said it appears someone snatched three sets of keys from the valet box. The thieves then located two of the cars, Ramakur's BMW and a Land Rover, and drove off unnoticed. 

Laura Hernandez said the keys to her boyfriend's Dodge Challenger were stolen, but not his car. She believes the thieves bypassed his car because it was parked in the spaces right next to the restaurant. The cars that were stolen were parked in an overflow lot across the street.

Hernandez said a fourth restaurant patron's keys were stolen as well. 

“The fourth person who actually had their keys stolen, he mentioned to us that the battery was dying on his clicker, so you had to actually be standing right next to it to click,” Hernandez said.

A fourth victim was not mentioned in the official incident report.

According to the incident report, a surveillance camera captured three suspicious men near the restaurant at the approximate time the keys were stolen. Cameras were not able to capture the moment the keys were stolen from the valet box, however.

Hernandez said she asked the valet attendants how the keys could've been stolen.

“They told us that someone distracted them and got their hands into the box, and he was basically explaining to me that you really don't need the key. You just need something to turn the lock, and that opens the key box,” she said.

Ecco contracts with Pro Park to manage its valet service. Valet attendants are not employees of the restaurant. Pro Park managers did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

A representative of Ecco released a statement that reads, in part, "Ecco is dedicated to serving its guests with the utmost hospitality in all aspects of their dining experience, including our valet services. Last evening's unfortunate incident was the first of its kind in the restaurant's 9-year history. We are grateful that no one was injured and appreciate the cooperation from all parties as our team worked to remedy the situation."

Ramakur said his car has a GPS tracking system which he hopes will help investigators. He said he'll think twice the next time he's tempted to hand his keys to a valet.

“That's the last place you expect your car to be gone,” said Ramakur. “So if it's a valet anywhere else, trust me, I'm not the same anymore. I'm not doing that.”

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