This incident in Florida started off as a promising heist movie but ended up in a farce and a lawsuit.
It began when the valet of a luxury hotel gave the keys of a sports car to the wrong person, who claimed it as his own in a bid to impress the woman he was with. They went for a "joyride" but the man, identified as 29-year-old Levi Miles, was so ineffectual in driving the car that he just about managed to "move it" and was caught soon after.
The owner of the vehicle has now sued the hotel and the parking operator for gross negligence which he said led to depreciation of his 458 Italia Spider Ferrari.
The St. Petersburg police report revealed that the owner of the car James 'Skip' Fowler, 73, a senior partner at the Orlando law firm Fowler, O’Quinn, Feeney & Sneed, has sued Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club along with its parking operator, 717 Parking Enterprises, for gross negligence.
According to Tampa Bay Times, the lawsuit specified that Fowler spent a good deal on repairs, legal fees and car inspections after his canary-yellow beast was stolen. He also alleged that the value of the car has also decreased after the botch-up.
And if you want to know how the accused managed to get away with it? It took almost zilch effort to steal the stunning yellow Ferrari. In fact, Miles blames the valet for giving the keys to him.
The case of the extraordinary Heist
Tampa Bay reported that Fowler was in town for a lawyers convention and had checked in at the resort at 11 a.m. on July 27. His Ferrari was parked in front of the Vinoy.
The valet revealed that the parking lot became extremely busy at midnight, which is when the culprit Miles, then 28, and the woman he was with, Chloe Rimmer, 24 walked in, asking for the keys of a Ferrari.
The police report stated that Miles "seemed to be impatient" and "demanding" and told the valet that the ticket was inside the car and he would bring it back.
After being given the keys, Miles and Rimmer remained inside the car for quite some time. Eventually, Miles drove off but the two did not go too far as police apprehended the duo at about 12:30 a.m.
At first, Miles denied the robbery allegations. The first version of his story was that he was a marine driving his father’s car, and they were going to drive by the water off Gulfport before heading back to the hotel.
The police report stated that they found 2 grams of cocaine in the car and both Rimmer and Miles were taken into custody.
Miles denied knowing anything about the drugs. To make matters worse, Miles kept changing his story. His latest version was that he had just met Rimmer and they had gone back to the Vinoy to get her car. When they arrived at the resort, the Ferrari was sitting right in front of it.
"Yeah, that’s my car," Miles told Rimmer on seeing the car, in a bid to impress her.
"Miles admitted that he had an attitude with the valet attendant to distract him from asking for the valet ticket," the officer, who caught the couple, wrote. Miles said he knew the car wasn’t his, but planned to return it after a few hours.
He also insisted he had no intention to steal it.
"Miles stated the vehicle and keys were given to him by (the) valet," the report said, "so technically he did not steal the vehicle."
"I was trying to impress the girl I just met at the Vinoy," Miles stated.
Miles is now facing charges of grand theft of more than $100,000, possession of cocaine and habitually driving with a suspended or revoked license while Rimmer faces a charge of marijuana possession. The police report also further stated that they also found a gram of cocaine in her purse.
Rimmer on her part concurred with Miles' last version of the story, saying she had only met Miles that night, who offered her a drive back home.
But as she had to see a friend in Jordan Park, Miles decided to take her out for a spin in the Ferrari. Although Rimmer did find it odd that Miles was unable to drive the car, he managed to somehow "move it." She said that she did not think too much of it.
Fowler has, so far, not made a public comment about the whole fiasco.
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