74ºF

Man accused of perpetrating as parking lot attendant, charging higher fees in downtown Houston

HOUSTON – A man is accused of portraying as a parking lot attendant and up charging drivers in downtown Houston.

Toine Gillespie said the man, identified by Houston police as Elliot Nix, told her Saturday she had to pay $20 to park instead of the regular $7 near Discovery Green.

"We were approached by an attendant, who said it's going to be a special event parking today, because of all the events going on," Gillespie said.

When she heads downtown to dine at her favorite restaurant, Gillespie said she typically parks at the paid parking lot on 1118 Crawford Street. However, this Saturday, she said she couldn't pay for her parking at the machine.

"He had on a vendors tag, so I looked and said let me see your tag because it's unusual," she said. "I come to this restaurant pretty frequently, and the parking is usually just always $7," she said.

Gillespie said she noticed that Nix's vendor tag was expired. She said she hesitated, but handed the money over to the man.

In return, she said Nix handed her a ticket that belonged to the Renaissance Austin Hotel.

Once inside the restaurant, she said she checked with the staff about the parking price increase. The staff informed her there had been no price increase and that she was probably scammed.

She said she left the restaurant immediately, flagged down a patrolling officer, who found the man in the parking lot.

Nix was charged with theft Saturday, officials said.

Gillespie said she is glad she took quick action to find the man pretending to be a parking lot attendant.

“You just have to follow your instincts,” she said. “If someone approaches you and says, ‘Hey, you need to pay me.’ Just be cautious, ask questions.”