Parking scam costs woman $130

Great-grandmother pays men for parking, finds boot on her vehicle

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - A woman says she found out two men were pretending to be parking attendants when she gave them $30 and later found a boot on her vehicle.

"This is as bad as it gets when you're getting conned out of $30 and now you have to pay $100 fine," said Carol Templeton.

The 76-year-old great-grandmother told Local 2 she was conned in the Ace Parking lot on Fannin in downtown Houston. She said the trouble started after she gave a man who claimed to be a parking attendant $20.

"He said, ‘I'll be right back with your change and your receipt,'" said Templeton.

A few minutes later, another man stopped her.

"I said, ‘I paid the other guy.' He says, ‘That guy, he is a tramp that runs around here and he catches people all the time and he takes their money.' He said, ‘I'm sorry,'" Templeton said.

Then the man insisted that she pay him another $10 to park, which she did.

"He was also a crook. He didn't work here," Templeton said.

It dawned on her that she'd been had when she returned to the lot after lunch and discovered the boot.

"I thought I was going to faint. What do I do now?" she said.

The woman said she paid $100 to have a company remove the boot.

A parking enforcement officer told Local 2 schemes like this are common. It's a lesson this 76-year-old learned the hard way.

"I'd like to get my hands on them. I'd love to get my hands on them. They wouldn't mess with me again," Templeton said.

Templeton said she wrote a letter in protest, hoping to get a refund.

Parking enforcement said people should always pay at the machines in a parking lot and put the ticket in their dashboard window.

Never give money to a person claiming to be an attendant unless that person is in uniform.

HPD said people who get scammed should file a police report. Authorities can't investigate without a formal report, which makes it difficult for police to identify a crime trend or pattern.

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