Memphis police investigating string of valet vehicle thefts

5 vehicles stolen from downtown valets

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -Memphis police are investigating a string of vehicles stolen from downtown valets. Over three days, Memphis Police reports show five cars swiped from valets across downtown.

Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar was the first to be hit Sunday night followed by another restaurant and a hotel. The thefts put Flight valets on alert.T he first to disappear, a Nissan Altima.

Police say the owner of the car was told by the Southern Valet employee to leave the key in the ignition, then he walked inside. The owner of Southern Valet said Friday his valets never saw the car owner arrive. Five minutes later the report says the car was gone... but found two days later by police.

The next night, Memphis police say someone posed as a valet at the SpringHill Suites hotel on Court Avenue. This time the thief took off with a Nissan Sentra rental car, which is still missing as of Friday.

Alarming news for Greg Benson who just checked in at the hotel for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

“I just gave a key, my car keys, assuming that he’s legitimate. I hope he is,” said Benson.

Something many of us do when we pull up to a valet.

“I am going to go check to make sure my car is still there. I hope it’s still there,” he said.

But that wasn't the case for three diners at The Gray Canary on South Front Street Tuesday night.

Police say the two men in video from the 700 block B.B. King Avenue are seen getting out of one of the stolen vehicles A valet from Guardian Concierge admitted to investigators he left the lock box filled with keys unattended and unlocked that night.

Guardian Concierge said on Friday it is policy to have the key box locked at all times.

The Jeep seen in the security video along with a Nissan Murano stolen from The Gray Canary were later recovered, but a Scion is still missing.

Chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, owners of the Gray Canary released the following statement.

We take the safety and security of our customers' and staffs' property and person very seriously. That commitment extends to all companies that play a part in our guests' experience. That our guests were forced to go through the fallout of the theft of their property because of a lack of proper following of procedure has forced us to re-evaluate the relationship we have with the valet company. As we determine the best move to further the safety of our guest, we are looking for the best company to ensure that whoever valets our customers' cars is best trained and prepared to protect against crimes of convenience.
Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, Enjoy AM Restaurant Group

The company Enjoy AM Restaurant Group hired to valet Gray Canary Customer vehicles, Guardian Concierge Services, released this statement.

We are saddened by the crime inflicted on the patrons of the establishment and acknowledge that downtown Memphis is a challenging venue to navigate during periods of high crowds and Memphis in May festivities while criminals are looking for opportunities. We regret the situation and are terribly sorry for the hardships placed on the victims when their vehicles were stolen, and have quickly instituted new safety and precautionary operating procedures to thwart any further targeted criminal actions like this. We are diligently working to make downtown Memphis an inviting, fun, and safe destination.
Michael H. Varner, president of Guardian Concierge Services

The owner of Flight says he's hired armed security to watch over the valet vehicles.

Enjoy A-M Restaurant Group told WMC Action News 5 they are now evaluating their relationship with Guardian Concierge.

Marriott did not return our request for comment.

Copyright 2019 WMC. All rights reserved.