NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Cruisers returned to the Mermaid City on Friday, June 10 to find that some of their cars had been broken into.
Several of the Norfolk cruise ship passengers reached out to 10 On Your Side Friday afternoon to say that their car had been broken into while they were gone on a six-day cruise to the Bahamas on the Carnival Magic. They spent several days in the Bahamas, including stops in Nassau and Half Moon Cay, before returning to Nauticus and taking the bus over to the Cedar Grove Lot on Monticello Avenue.
That’s when they found that their car windows had been shattered and personal items had been dug through.
Sgt. William Pickering with Norfolk Police confirmed to 10 On Your Side that there were four larcenies in that lot between Sunday, June 5 and Saturday, June 11. That’s the number of reports filed between those dates.
The lot is city-owned, but security is provided by an outside vendor.
Katheryn Smith, a passenger on the Magic, returned to Norfolk on Friday morning to find a madhouse in the parking lot. When she got to her car, she found one of the windows smashed. Items she left inside, including money and keys, were taken.
“That was the first time being there, and I cannot see myself returning.”
She said she was shocked by the whole experience.
“I entrusted these people to take care of my vehicle,” she told 10 On Your Side. “I was you know expecting to get in my vehicle and come on home, but this was like a circus. It really was nothing like I ever thought.”
When asked, Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer gave 10 On Your Side the following statement Saturday:
“Cedar Grove parking lot is the designated parking lot for Carnival Cruise Ship cruises that initiate at Half Moone Terminal. We provide 24-hour roving security to the lot through our contracted security provider. So, we are unclear how these break-ins could occur and we are investigating. All impacted passengers should please contact the Norfolk’s City Attorney’s Office at (757) 664-4529 to file a claim.
Going forward we are working with NPD and the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office to supplement the security services at the lot. In addition, we are looking to install camera security for the lot.”
Mayor Kenny Alexander told 10 On Your Side he knows those that were vandalized need to be made whole.
“It appears our hired security firm let us down,” said Alexandre. “Our plan has to be to make these people whole. I don’t know all the details. We will play a role to help and that must be our position.”
On Monday, WAVY confirmed the City Attorney’s Office received several calls over the weekend pertaining to the Cedar Grove lot and provided this statement:
The attorney assigned to review these claims will make that determination once the investigations are completed. The Attorney’s Office will do everything possible to expedite the investigations. The Attorney’s Office will be reaching out today to let them know an investigation has been initiated and what additional information they may need to provide.
10 on Your Side went looking for answers from Allied Universal Security Services who has yet to comment on the incident.
Jose Vazquez, the Account Manager for Allied and oversees the Norfolk contract, declined to comment when confronted on camera days after the incident.
10 On Your Side has also learned that an Allied guard allegedly slammed a security vehicle into at least five cars including Melissa Davis’ Mazda. She was told at the scene the Allied driver hit the accelerator instead of the brake.
“When we came back to the parking lot there were several cars badly damaged in one row of the parking lot,” said Davis who is upset that no one from Allied or the City of Norfolk has contacted her.
“The fact there wasn’t a representative from the City of Norfolk who runs that parking lot on-site leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, and I’m reluctant to return to the city or that cruise port specifically.”
In a comment on Facebook, John Heald who is Carnival Cruise’s senior cruise director and brand ambassador, said:
I’m so very sorry, I’m afraid to say you’re not the only one. I have to say also that I’m afraid we do not run or manage or have anything specifically to do with this parking lot. It’s just a recommendation, and sadly I’m afraid you will have to go through your insurance on this. I am so very sorry, I’m afraid there is nothing that we can do specifically but rest assured I have spoken with the highest authorities in my office, and they are now talking to the people that manage the port and the car parking facilities. I’m so very sorry, and I really do hope you had a wonderful time.
Again, those who had their vehicles broken into should contact Norfolk’s City Attorney’s Office at (757) 664-4529.