Deputies investigate parking lot robberies at upscale hotels - FOX 35 News Orlando

Deputies investigate parking lot robberies at Orlando-area upscale hotels

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Investigators said two crooks broke into cars parked at two upscale hotel parking lots.  Orange County Sheriff's detectives said they got away with more than $15,000 worth of valuables.  Three surveillance cameras caught the two suspects on camera.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office said the alleged crooks' night began at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando last Thursday.  The report states the Blackwell family turned over their vehicle to the valets at the hotel just before six that night.  The family said they gave their keys to the valet.  Detectives said valets parked their vehicle in a remote lot that was only used by valets.

Kevin Blackwell said he picked up his vehicle from valets the next morning. He said that's when he discovered someone had moved their belongings in their white Dodge Journey and his wife Janine's purse was missing.

"When we opened it up, we could see that it had been ransacked," said Blackwell. "There were no broken windows or nothing to indicate it was a break-in."

Janine's wallet, credit cards, a gift card, and other personal items that totaled nearly $8,000 had been taken.

Blackwell said he left the items out of sight in his "stow and go compartment." The Sheriff's Office said the suspect either used a key or the Blackwell's car doors were left unlocked.

The report states two men then used Blackwell's stolen credit card at a fast food restaurant and a gas station off Orange Blossom Trail around 4:30 on Friday morning.  One of the men then drove to a Wal-Mart off South Orange Blossom Trail around 10:30 a.m. 

Surveillance video shows one of the suspects get out of a red, older model Nissan, and then walk inside the store to buy milk and pampers with the stolen card. However, detectives said the card was declined.  The report revealed the suspect returned the pampers to a manager and then used food stamps to buy the milk.

"You stay at a five star hotel; you're expecting safety," said Blackwell. "We travel with dogs, and my wife actually travels with her purse and things of value. You think when you're giving your car to the valet you're in safe hands."

Detectives said crooks also tried to steal items from three other cars. One was parked at the J.W Marriott, which is behind the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando.

A second Sheriff's Office report stated several similar crimes took place nearly 24 hours earlier. The report said crooks stole items from a different car parked by valets at the J.W Marriott hotel on Wednesday night.

The report stated the crooks were able to cut the rear window of a Ford F15 and steal more than $7,200 worth of valuables - including five pairs of sunglasses, two iPads, and two gold and diamond men's watches. The Orange County Sheriff's report also stated the suspects may have had the original set of keys for the second vehicle since they were able to get inside and steal items that were located in a "locked center console."

A spokesperson for the Ritz, which is owned by Marriott International, told FOX 35 the hotels have turned over everything to the Sheriff's Office.

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