Looking for Infiniti, Last Seen at Fontainebleau

Elizabeth Maneiro and two friends stepped out of her white 2008 Infiniti EX35 at the front entrance to the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. A valet handed her a ticket stamped 11:52 p.m. November 28. That was the last time the 38-year-old sales marketing associate saw her luxury SUV.

Two hours after Maneiro and her pals finished sipping drinks at the hotel's iridescent lobby bar, she handed the retrieval ticket to the valet counter clerk. An hour passed. "It was a busy night for them," Maneiro recalls. "They had, like, eight to ten valet runners out there. When I asked them about my car, the counter clerk told me they were still looking for it."

At 5 a.m., the hotel's parking director, Ali Elmi, informed her the valet runners could not find her Infiniti, Maneiro claims. Elmi told her video surveillance showed her car being parked inside the garage, Maneiro adds, "but that they couldn't find the video of it coming out."

Then there was Elmi's revelation that one of the gates to the garage had been tampered with. "I told him he needed to call the cops," Maneiro says.

After Miami Beach Police arrived and she made a claim with the hotel's

insurer, she went home. The Fontainebleau paid for a locksmith to open

her apartment door and for a car rental, but Maneiro -- who three weeks

ago moved to Miami from Hackensack, New Jersey -- is still upset. "I

haven't slept," she says. "I valeted my car thinking it would be safe

with them."


Elmi referred Riptide's questions to the Fontainebleau's communication

director, Mabel Debunza, who confirmed the hotel lost Maneiro's car.

"This is an isolated incident," Debunza insists. "This has never

happened before. We are working with the police, and we are doing our

best to rectify this embarrassing situation."

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.