ATLANTA — At least six reports of cars stolen from valets in Atlanta already been reported in the first month of 2019, and Atlanta Police met with about 40 hotel and business owners on Friday to talk about the uptick in crime.

“We will increase patrols in areas where these crimes are more likely to occur and we will work closely with those companies, but we are reliant upon them to assist us in reducing these crimes through better security of customer’s keys,” said Officer Jarius Daugherty with Atlanta Police. “We expressed how important it is to ensure vehicle keys cannot be easily accessed by someone other than a valet driver.”

The latest incident occurred on Jan. 16 at a Buckhead business at 277 Pharr Rd. NE. The valet told police he stepped away from the valet stand for a moment and spotted three customer vehicles that he parked leave the lot at a high rate of speed. After checking the valet key stand, he realized some of the keys were missing.

Officers were able to connect with all car theft victims and no injuries were reported.

A valet at Poor Calvin’s restaurant was robbed for a customer’s car last month. Two men cornered the valet while he was checking on a vehicle and stole the car keys and the man’s wallet and cell phone. No arrests have been made.

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In September 2018, three people were arrested for stealing a car from a valet at the DoubleTree Hotel in Buckhead. 

Daugherty said that, while it’s important for valets to access cars quickly through a traditional key box, companies should be proactive in protecting their customers.

“The police department simply cannot provide on-site security to valet companies,” Daugherty said.