Every weekend thousands of people flock to Deep Ellum for the great food and festivities. This weekend there will be more foot and vehicle traffic starting Friday when the Deep Ellum Arts Festival kicks off.
The 6-block festival along Main Street will feature 200 artists and 100 performers on six stages. But before you head out to enjoy the festivities with your family and friends, there is a parking scheme business owners in the area want to warn the public about.
Chris Gebhardt, owner of Virtbiz, captured the parking scam on his security cameras outside of his building.
There are six parking spots in the back of his building off Canton and Crowdus. The coveted spots are just a few blocks away from the hottest concert venues and restaurants in the area. The problem is, if you are not a customer or an employee you cannot park there.
“We’ve got signs that say no event parking, we’ve got signs that say no concert parking, we’ve got signs that are bilingual. We’ve really tried to get the point across as best we can,” said Gebhardt.
There are eight signs posted above all six spaces. Every weekend vehicles are towed from his business, but when he noticed an excessive number of cars being towed at the same time, he investigated further.
“We just went back on the recording and found a guy directing cars into the parking lot. These guys stand on the corner, every weekend, pretending to be parking attendants. He’ll take five bucks, ten bucks from somebody and he’ll just park in a lot that’s clearly marked 'no parking.'
"The driver has no idea that they are being scammed. When they come back to their car, its gone. A tow truck has already taken it away.Unfortunately, I’ve seen it happen to a family of five in a minivan. I just want people to be aware of this,” Gebhardt said.
After our partners at The Dallas Morning News published this story, Dallas police began investigating the incidents.
“This is a problem all over Dallas. Here in Deep Ellum, its densely populated and there’s just not adequate parking for everyone," Gebhardt said. "I would say its really important just verify where you’re parking. If there’s a no parking sign and a random guy is telling you ‘give me five dollars.’ I’d believe the sign before the random guy on the street.”