received this in the mail this afternoon. best to read and be warned. this is not the first we hear about a car parked in the ortigas center area being broken into. but the fact is it can happen anywhere, even in the private parking area of five-star hotels:
"If you drive a car or know of anyone who works in the Ortigas area, please be warned against using lots operated by "SECURE PARKING." Not only do they charge an arm and a leg (compared to their el cheapo counterparts) but apparently they lull customers into a false sense of security with their name and the so-called roving guard that only sticks around till a certain time. When that roving guy goes home, your car is fair game for thieves.
I had the unfortunate experience of parking my vehicle on February 5, 2008 in a lot operated by (the ironically named) SECURE PARKING. Specifically the one right beside the little park on F. Ortigas Jr (the former Emerald Avenue) next to the Jollibee building, and across the Ortigas Post Office. I had parked there around 4-5pm for a meeting at The Coffee Bean, then when I had to get an item from the car at 7-8pm, it was still fine. I even checked the doors to make sure that everything was locked.
When I returned from an interview at the Podium at 9.30pm, I was shocked to find that the right rear passenger door window was smashed. My canvas bag containing my belongings (among which was my driver's license) was gone. It was most likely mistaken for a laptop bag. After complaining as loudly as possible regarding the incident, other motorists in the area came forward to say that incidents like this often happened in that particular parking lot, even the parking cashier himself admitted to this. But he claimed that when the roving 'guard' went for his last round at 9pm, he was in quite a hurry to go home and reported that there was nothing unusual going on. So the the thieves easily had 30 minutes to break my window, steal whatever they pleased, and make a run for it. Apparently, the parking cashier let out some 'customers' who had no license plate and seemed to be in a rush to leave. One would think that with the incidence of thefts, they would qualify as suspicious characters, but no, they were let through.
On the other hand, I had to ask several times for this parking cashier to help me, as he stared dumbfounded at my broken window. He even was going to charge me for the dubious honor of parking in that hellhole! The police only came around after 20-30 minutes, and didn't have much to offer by way of help, save for the comment that this was quite a popular area for burgled cars, file my report at their station in San Antonio Village, Pasig, tape up my window, and send me off.
Of course the parking lot's little ticket has a clause that says that the operators are not liable for losses or damages to your vehicle. But considering that they make people pay dearly for parking in their area, shouldn't they have done something about security? Shouldn't there have been another roving guard who should've relieved the first one who was in quite a rush to go home? They may as well have put up a sign that says: "after 9pm, you're on your own guys!" If I had known of this arrangement, I would have moved my vehicle elsewhere. My car has been parked out in the street in Quezon City, right across a squatter community for almost a year, and nothing untoward of this sort had ever happened to it. And in the middle of the ORTIGAS BUSINESS DISTRICT, within a parking lot supposedly guarded by people paid with the money one must give for the privilege and convenience of being guarded until 9pm, my car gets broken into because the thieves thought I had a laptop. AND I DON'T EVEN OWN A LAPTOP. I may be careless enough to leave a canvas bag with my license, planner, newspaper, a couple of magazines, maybe even an umbrella in it. But not a laptop.
Maybe this parking lot should have a sign that says "XXX (number) of cars broken into so far," like those construction sites that proudly display that they've had "xxx (number) of accident-free days." Maybe the parking attendant should tell you that the roving guy will only be on duty till a certain time, after that, you're on your own. Maybe you shouldn't park in this area, or better yet, any of the lots operated by 'SECURE PARKING' until they really make it worth your hard-earned peso. For crying out loud, for people who demand you pay Php40 or more, they sure have bad security for just that tiny lot. Mall of Asia has better guards for Php40 all-day parking in their buildings.
Please pass this on to consumer rights columnists, motoring columnists/journalists, anyone you think who may benefit from this information. Don't make these thieves richer, and you certainly shouldn't patronize parking operators who want you to pay astronomical sums for a false sense of security but are ill-equipped to prevent thefts from happening.