Dozens of cars were left stranded in downtown Miami's Lot 58 Monday night after disgruntled valet workers dumped the keys in a pile on the pavement, customers said.
Customers told NBC 6 that some valet workers for Tampa-based Premier Parking Ventures dumped their keys in a dispute with Premier about not being paid.
At least 17 keys disappeared from the lot in what a company spokesman said was an act of sabotage.
"It's unfortunate," Premier Parking Ventures national operations manager Nicholas Letizia said Tuesday. "I believe that we were sabotaged."
Valet Workers at Miami Parking Lot Dumped Keys: Customers
But Letizia said he's not sure if that sabotage came from an ex-employee or a competitor. He said his company is trying to correct the situation "as fast as possible."
It was learned later Tuesday that the City of Miami had terminated its contract with Premier Parking Ventures.
Brian Kline said a frenzy erupted after several people who had just gotten off a nearby cruise ship found a pile of keys sitting on the pavement.
Valet Workers Dumped Keys in Pile in Dispute, Customers Say
"They had just a mosh pit of people scrambling through keys, and people saying they're gonna miss their flight, some people screaming they're gonna call the police," he said.
After hours of waiting in the hot sun with no sign of their lost keys, some people called for outside help.
"We're waiting for a locksmith to come so they can make keys so we can go home, now that it's been over five and a half hours ago," said cruisegoer Scott Wierzenski.
"We paid for a tow truck, but there were too many cars blocking us in, so when they finally could get to my car, it was pulled in front-end drive, so they couldn't even tow it in to the dealer to make a key," Kline said.
After sending his wife and children home in a cab, he eventually had to have his spare keys driven down to him from Delray Beach.
By Monday afternoon, tow trucks were able to free some cars, and locksmiths helped others drive away. After calling Premier, some customers said the company is blaming the dispute on the valets, while the valets told some customers their employer is at fault.
Stranded customers had to make additional arrangements Monday night, and planned to return Tuesday for their cars.
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