The city of Hollywood thought it was doing residents a good deed by opening its public parking garages for free as a public service to help people in low-lying areas prone to flooding.
It did not go over well when drivers showed up Friday at the garage at Polk Street and 19th Avenue in the city’s downtown and found the garage filled with cars with price tags and no license plates.
Apparently a sneaky car dealer filled the garage with more than 40 of the cars from his lot.
“The lot was designated for residents as a last resort for those who live on the beach and other areas subject to a storm surge — not for a local car dealer, said Hollywood spokeswoman Raelin Storey.
She said it is against the law to use public property for private gain, and all the vehicles have been ticketed. But as of Saturday morning, the city had not yet discovered the culprit responsible.
“We are investigating it, but we have had other priorities. We are taking it seriously,’’ she said.
As many of the cars as possible will be booted, she said, but the city has only so many boots available.
The city has three public garages, but they were all full by midday Friday.
The city’s closest shelter, at Beachside Montessori Village, was also full, city officials said.