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Thieves swipe keys, cars from restaurant valet lot | Crime

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Thieves swipe keys, cars from restaurant valet lot
Crime, News
Thieves swipe keys, cars from restaurant valet lot

ATLANTA (WXIA) – Two cars and three sets of car keys were stolen from the parking lot of a popular midtown Atlanta restaurant Thursday night. But what makes it so unusual is that it happened after the diners gave their keys to the valet.

Every day we put our trust in others to do the right thing – including with our cars. We trust each other to be safe drivers on the road, we trust mechanics to take good care of our cars – and if you go to certain restaurants, you trust that when you give your car keys to the valet, they, and your car, will be safe.

You certainly do not expect what happened Thursday night.

Midtown restaurant Ecco is a trendy spot for dining and occasional celebrity spotting. But Thursday night, Ecco played host to grand theft auto.

"The first thing was the key was missing," said Prineet Ramakur, one of the victims.

"The valet basically told us, your keys are missing," said another victim, Laura Hernandez.

Several patrons who left their keys with the valet came out to find their keys stolen.

"There was a couple standing next to us where not only were their keys missing, but their car was gone as well," Hernandez said.

"When the car was missing, I was furious on them as to what was going on here," said Ramakur.

A BMW and Land Rover were snatched from the lot across the street.

"Apparently someone came up and spoke to the valets and distracted them, and that's all they're telling us right now," said Hernandez.

"At this point, it's still very early on in the investigation," said Atlanta Police Officer Ralph Woolfolk.

The Atlanta Police incident report speaks of surveillance video that shows "three black males" that "did appear to be suspicious." But, "the video camera was not able to capture the males actually removing the keys from the lock box or removing the vehicles," the report said.

"What the valet guy said is, the box is locked, but somehow it's easily opened … I don't know how that works," Ramakur said.

"There are potentially a lot of people that may have had an opportunity to see this incident," said Woolfolk.

"Had we parked on the street and kept our keys, we would have our keys right now, and we would be home," said Hernandez.

Ecco management released a statement saying, among other things, "Last evening's unfortunate incident was the first of its kind in the restaurant's 9-year history."

Police believe the thefts happened between 9-and-10 p.m. They are encouraging anyone with knowledge to contact CrimeStoppers Atlanta at 404-577-TIPS.

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