COCOA, Fla. - If you've ever taken a cruise out of Port Canaveral you've probably seen the discount parking lots that will shuttle passengers to their ships. WFTV's Jeff Deal has a startling investigation into one of those businesses.
It will go from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. It is one hot car, fire red with a 430-horsepower V-8 engine. A $60,000 2012 Corvette is the kind of car anyone would love to take for a spin. And it's the kind of car you hate to leave in someone else's hands, but sometimes, that's what people do. Especially cruise passengers looking to set sail on vacation.
Lots like Premier Parking Spot offer to watch your car while you're on vacation, then shuttle you to the port in style.
But WFTV Eyewitness News got a tip that the owner of Premier Parking Spot in Cocoa, Jay Nieves, was known to take customer's keys, then take their car for a ride.
To investigate WFTV rented the flashy convertible Corvette and equipped it with a GPS tracking device.
Then we sent a husband and wife in the sports car headed for "vacation" to drop the car off at Premier Parking Spot just to see what would happen.
Apparently the temptation was too much.
Just six hours later, with the couple long gone, the GPS tracking device sent us a text message alerting us that the car was in motion.
That's when we captured video of Nieves and another employee joyriding in our car. They were peeling out on dirt roads.
We saw them taking pictures of the Corvette in front of Nieves' home. Later that night we saw them cruising on Merritt Island, and eventually parking the car at an Applebee's restaurant.
Our computer GPS system showed Nieves even parked it at his home overnight.
Two days later, we watched him drive it all over town running errands. He went to Ace Hardware.
Later, he loaded it with lumber at his home, and even allowed a dog to run around in the customer's car.
Finally, when he left it in a parking lot near his business with the top down and door open for more than 20 minutes, Jeff Deal confronted Nieves.
"You're going to say you weren't driving the car? Tell me the truth. Be honest with me," Deal said to Nieves.
"You're completely wrong," said Nieves
The GPS WFTV installed in the car showed that the Corvette had been driven 61 miles after being dropped off at Premier Parking Spot.
A tipster suggested to WFTV that this same behavior had gone on with other customers' vehicles over the past couple of months.
We don't know if he would clean and gas up the cars he took to cover his tracks. The GPS showed Nieves stopped at a gas station with the Corvette, but we don't know if he filled it up.