Hermann Park visitors claim fake official caused several cars to be towed

Authorities are cautioning visitors to Hermann Park in Houston after several vehicles were towed from illegal parking spaces, reportedly due to impersonation by an individual posing as a police officer or park ranger. 

The incident, which occurred on a Sunday, left Houstonians with hefty fines totaling nearly $400 each in ticket and towing fees.

Glenda, who visited the park with her young son, said she was directed to park in non-designated areas near the Sam Houston statue by a man she believed to be an official. 

"He had a camera on, and a speaker or something on him," Glenda said.

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Another driver described the impersonator as wearing slacks and an off-white collared shirt, equipped with a radio and walkie-talkie. 

Several cars were towed in the Hermann Park area Sunday after blocking traffic near a parking lot. Drivers claim a person posing as law enforcement advised they park there. (Houston Parks & Recreation photo)

"There was no reason to think otherwise that he was potentially a scammer," she emphasized.

Approximately an hour and a half later, Glenda and several others who followed the instructions found their vehicles towed. Upon consulting actual park rangers, they were informed that parking in those areas was prohibited and that they did not recognize the individual described by the victims.

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department responded to the situation with five rangers dispatched to the scene. They discovered ten vehicles obstructing a bus's exit in Lot A, parked along a yellow-marked "NO PARKING" curve. Complaints from visitors indicated difficulties in maneuvering due to blocked access.

In response to safety concerns raised by the parked vehicles, rangers sought towing services, resulting in eight vehicles being towed from the area.

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The Houston Police Department's Major Offenders Office Impersonation Unit has initiated an investigation into the incident. The storage facility housing the towed vehicles told FOX 26 they lacked substantial information regarding the incident, and that they only store the vehicles, not tow them. 

This incident serves as a reminder for park visitors to exercise caution and verify parking regulations independently to avoid falling victim to similar incidents in the future. For a map of where to park in that area, click here.