It's a feeling everyone has had when walking through a parking garage after a long day away from your vehicle: What if someone broke in? Images of shattered class or a missing car fill your mind as you try to remember where you parked.
But few worst-case-scenario worriers imagine what one Miami man found upon returning to his car at the Dadeland North parking garage. It was propped up on concrete barriers and stripped of its wheels.
"All four wheels were taken and left on bricks," Juan Bisbal wrote on Facebook. "The garages have surveillance cameras, but according to security officers at the station, most of them don't work!"
The same day Bisbal's car was vandalized, another vehicle at Dadeland North also was broken into, according to Karla Damian, a spokesperson for Miami-Dade's Department of Transportation and Public Works. Damian said the cameras were "compromised" by the criminals, which is why they failed to capture any useful footage. Police are investigating the incidents.
This year, two other cars at Dadeland North and one car at the South Miami garage have been stripped for auto parts, according to Damian. Though troubling, that's still only a fraction of the cars parked in the garages — Damian said that Dadeland North can hold 2,000 cars and that the South Miami garage has a capacity of 1,700.
Although it can be considered a relatively small number of incidents, the vandalism has alarmed a large number of people. Bisbal's post about the damage to his car was shared more than 2,700 times on Facebook in just a little more than a week.
Damian said the county has added more security cameras and increased security at Dadeland North and now has roving patrols and even undercover details. In addition, she said, the garage's security cameras are tested every day so any problems can be addressed immediately.
"We want our patrons to be rest assured that we take these very seriously and always try to ensure the safety of our patrons," she said.
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Officials say suspicious activity should be reported to 911 or the Transit Watch hotline, 305-375-2700.
Here's Bisbal's post about the damage to his vehicle: