Most people worry about how valet attendants treat their cars when they’re not around, but they apparently should be more concerned about who they give the vehicles to.
James Fowler, 73, recently filed a lawsuit, alleging negligence and gross negligence, in Hillsborough Circuit Court against 717 Parking and Marriott International for allowing his Ferrari 458 Spider to be stolen, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The incident happened July 27, while Fowler was staying at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club in Florida.
The valet worker told police that a man and women — later identified as Levin Miles, then 28, and Chloe Rimmer, 24 — came up to him around midnight, while he was busy, and asked for the Ferrari, which was parked outside. He said Miles, acting “impatient,” claimed he left his ticket inside the 458, so the attendant gave him the keys.
Even though the two sat in the Ferrari for a while before setting off, as Miles struggled to understand the complex instrument cluster, the attendant still didn’t suspect it wasn’t Miles’ car. He remarkably told police he stopped paying attention to the couple because he “figured he was not getting a tip.”
(For the record, if your job involves handling $300,000 supercars, you probably should take it seriously regardless of whether you think somebody will tip you.)
A police officer pulled the car over around 12:30 a.m. ET as it was about to get onto Interstate 275 northbound because he noticed Miles was having “difficulty” driving the car. Upon stopping them, the officer found 2 grams of cocaine on the center console, and found a gram of marijuana inside Rimmer’s purse when they were arrested.
Miles’ story reportedly kept changing each time he told it, police said, so they suspected he may be involved in a ring of a high-end car thieves. Officers asked him what he knew about various stolen vehicles, such as three Audi A8s and a red Chevrolet Corvette Z06 — it’s unclear if it was the one recently spotted by a Gainsville police officer while they were stopping a stolen Ferrari — before he ultimately told them the truth, which Rimmer corroborated.
“I was trying to impress the girl I just met at the Vinoy,” Miles told police, via the Tampa Bay Times.
The 28-year-old now faces charges of grand theft, possession of cocaine and habitually driving with a suspended or revoked license.
Although Fowler has every right to sue for the depreciation to his Ferrari caused by the incident, this could have ended a lot worse for him.