One of my first entries to B.la was about valets, and how two of my friends had some of their personal items stolen (including a digital camera and of all things, a ski cap/beanie) after valeting their cars at the C&O Trattoria in Marina del Rey.
More after the jump.
When an NBC4 producer hands over the car to the valet at Bob Hope Airport, a valet attendant lifts up the armrest and starts snooping around. First, he pockets a dollar in quarters. Then, he goes for the wallet, stealing $117 in cash, which he slips into his sock.
The head valet tells NBC4, some months they get dozens of complaints about theft. Joel Grover asked the head valet, “Last September you got how many complaints about stealing?” He replied, “Thirty.”
NBC4 parked the test car at other spots around town, like the popular restaurant Cobras and Matadors on Beverly Blvd. Seconds after Joel Grover hands over the car, a valet helps himself to three handfuls of quarters. Two hours later, when he’s bringing the car back to Grover, The valet tips himself again — stealing $11.50 in all.
NBC4 also caught valets stealing at other hot spots, like Sushi Roku on 3rd St., where a valet nabbed $9 in quarters. At Firefly, in Studio City, NBC4 got ripped off, not just by one or two valets, but three of them.
Of the 18 places NBC4 tested, valets stole money one third of the time. Most people who are ripped off, say they never get their money back.
So what about that valet NBC4 caught at Burbank Airport, would he deny what he did?
At first the valet told NBC4, “I no speak English good.”
But NBC4 brought along a translator.
When the NBC4 translator told the valet he was on tape stealing he told NBC4 he doesn’t remember if he stole. But the more he saw the undercover tape, the more he remembered. He told NBC4 through the translator if he had stolen money, it was because he needed it.
Minutes later, he pulled out a wad of cash and paid NBC4 back. He spoke enough English to tell NBC4, “Sorry.” Then he drove off in his Mercedes.