Miami Police Investigating Downtown Parking Scams

Police said they are looking into a scam targeting drivers in downtown Miami.

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    Miami Police say people are posing as parking attendants in downtown Miami lots, giving people false parking vouchers, leaving the drivers improperly parked. NBC 6's Willard Shepard reports. This video has been edited from the original version that aired for use on the web. (Published Monday, April 14, 2014)

    Miami Police say people are posing as parking attendants in downtown lots, giving drivers false parking vouchers, and leaving cars improperly parked.

    Police said the scammers pose as parking attendants to collect money and tell drivers where to leave their cars. When the drivers come back, they find a boot on their car for parking in a no-park zone.

    "We basically have a major problem," said Miami Police Sgt. Freddie Cruz.

    The scams have been popping up in the downtown Miami area where the demand for a place to park is high. With the Miami Heat about to begin games in the NBA playoffs, officers said they worry drivers will be easy targets.

    One woman said she and her friend paid to park in a private lot in the area, only to find a boot on their car. Ana Rivera said she was told they'd have to pay $100 to get the boot removed.

    "My friend paid for parking and it was about five other cars and they all got booted and they paid as well," Rivera said.

    Rivera said a man had indicated he was an attendant before taking their money and giving them a parking stub to indicate they paid.

    "There was an attendant there and there was no sign about the time limits," Rivera said. "It just said you gotta pay the 8 dollars."

    Police said they are looking into the situation.

    "We've been in contact with the commander in the area," Cruz said. "We are investigating who these people are, who this duo, gang, whoever it is, and we are going to put and end to it."

    Police have been staking out the parking lots and allowing those who have boots on their cars to get them removed without having to pay the $100. In the meantime, they are telling drivers to watch out who they give their money to and say a uniform is often an indicator that a parking attendant is legitimate.