Caught on camera: Just another valet, pillaging the contents of a customer's car.

He looks like a nice guy. But he is a thief. And this time he got caught.

Every day people come to my Real Valet Control website specifically to read about what they should do after a valet has stolen something from their car.

Each day I see the mayhem valets are causing... because I'm seeing the articles people are searching for.

Damage-related searches are more common, but things clearly do go missing. People visit my site in search of answers and guidance about valet theft.

There is an old CBS report from 2002 about valet theft. Through their testing, they found that 1 in 4 Los Angeles valet workers will "clean-out" a car.

They rigged up a car with hidden cameras and took it to some of the fanciest places in Los Angeles. 

At the "House Of Blues," they took the bait car there 11 times and had 6 different valets steal from it.

It was a similar situation at other popular venues.

As for myself, I worked as a valet at a luxury hotel in Philadelphia. In my nearly 2 years on the job, I knew of nobody on our crew that stole from the cars. But I heard that stealing was rampant and brazen before our valet company took over.

Not all valets are criminals, but you should assume every one of them will steal things from your car. You should leave NOTHING of value inside your car when valet parking it.

  • Not your sunglasses,
  • not your highway toll transponder,
  • not your mints,
  • not your music CDs,
  • not your shoes,
  • and certainly not your spare change or any paper currency.

If you leave anything in your car, you are inviting its disappearance. You cannot trust that your items of value will be safe, even if the venue asserts that they have secure parking. You cannot trust these sorts of claims.