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The incident took place on Wednesday night when an individual posing as a valet parking attendant took off with a guest’s car, leaving the victim in shock and dismay. The 53-year-old resident of Handewadi Road in Hadapsar immediately reported the incident to the Bharati Vidyapeeth police the following day.
According to Assistant Inspector Samir Kadam from the Bharati Vidyapeeth police station, the imposter is believed to be employed by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). The victim, accompanied by his wife and son, was attending his nephew’s wedding when the unfortunate incident occurred. Due to ongoing construction work on the service road, the guest decided to park his vehicle near the entrance of the wedding hall.
As per the police complaint, a young man of approximately 25 years approached the guest, offering valet parking services within the premises. The impersonator assured the victim that he would safely park the car and hand over the keys to the security guard stationed at the entrance. Trusting the supposed valet, the PMC employee handed over his car keys and proceeded into the venue with his family.
After waiting for more than five minutes without seeing his car being parked, the victim grew suspicious. He borrowed a relative’s motorcycle and searched the area up to Katraj Chowk in a desperate attempt to locate his vehicle but was unsuccessful. The dimly lit venue may have facilitated the crime, and the hall manager revealed that the CCTV cameras were inoperable due to damage caused by the ongoing road work.
Despite the challenges, the police have managed to obtain footage from a camera at another wedding hall. However, the captured images are unfortunately indistinct, making it difficult to identify the suspect.
The incident serves as a reminder to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions, even in seemingly secure environments. While it is disheartening that such incidents occur, it is crucial to learn from them and raise awareness about the potential risks associated with valet parking services.
As a precautionary measure, individuals attending events with valet parking should consider the following tips to mitigate the risk of car theft:
- Verify Credentials: Before handing over your car keys to a valet, ask for identification or credentials to ensure their legitimacy. Genuine valet attendants typically wear a uniform or carry an identification card provided by the service provider.
- Inspect the Parking Area: Take a moment to evaluate the parking area, noting the presence of security cameras and adequate lighting. If the area appears poorly lit or lacks security measures, it may be wise to reconsider using the valet service.
- Remove Valuables: Always remove any valuable items from your vehicle before handing it over to a valet. This includes personal belongings, electronic devices, and important documents. By doing so, you can minimize potential losses in the event of theft.
- Keep Spare Keys Secure: Do not leave spare keys or key fobs inside the vehicle. Store them in a safe place to prevent unauthorized access or duplication.
- Stay Vigilant: While enjoying the event, periodically check on the status of your vehicle. If you notice any suspicious activity or sense something amiss, promptly inform the event organizers or security personnel.
By adhering to these precautions, individuals can minimize the risk of falling victim to car theft during valet parking services. It is essential for event organizers and venue managers to prioritize security measures, including well-lit parking areas, functioning CCTV cameras, and strict verification processes for valet attendants.