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carolll Aug 7th, 2014 11:51 AM

Theft at Canal House
My husband and I spent five nights at Canal House, Amsterdam, this past early July, where staff members were convivial, our room small but artistically designed, and the hotel centrally located. It also offers questionable security to guests from hotel personnel with access to guest rooms.

We were carrying a large amount of cash in a traveler's secured bag. We take full responsibility for failure to put that cash into the room safe. Our forgetfulness was very costly because someone with access to our room stole that cash from my locked bag. The theft wasn't discovered by us until we reached our next destination, Munich.

The hotel manager, once informed, questioned employees and searched employee lockers, as if the money might have been put in a locker-a seemingly odd idea. No one admitted to her any theft and she swore by their honesty. Under the circumstances, we insisted that the Amsterdam police be alerted and the manager did do so.

The police stated that little could be done, given we had not reported the loss while still staying at the hotel. Of course, we would have done so had we been aware of the theft. It seems to us that our presence isn't the issue; what is the issue is that a hotel employee or employees remains on site, able to prey on other guests' possessions.

KTtravel Aug 7th, 2014 12:05 PM

I am not sure you can necessarily blame the hotel staff.

You don't know if another guest could have possibly accessed your room while it was being cleaned, etc. Amsterdam is a large city. It is also possible someone not associated with the hotel was able to enter it and rob your room.

I am sorry you experiened your loss. Any valuables should either be secured in the hotel safe or carried on your person in a money pouch.

hetismij2 Aug 7th, 2014 12:16 PM

Even if it was a member of staff there is little the hotel can do given the lack of any evidence against anyone.
I am sorry it happened, but I don't think you can expect the hotel to do more than they already have.
As KTravel says it needn't have been a staff member anyway.
How did they get into a locked bag and you failed to notice?

Dukey1 Aug 7th, 2014 12:55 PM

This is one of several reasons why we no longer carry large amounts of cash when we visit Europe. yes, they can be a PITA but getting cash as needed from ATMs helps eliminate large losses such as this one.

HappyTrvlr Aug 7th, 2014 01:12 PM

They unlocked your luggage ..and then relocked it?

carolll Aug 7th, 2014 01:24 PM

The hotel uses cards instead of door keys. The likelihood anyone other than a staff member could have gotten into our room isn't very high, but I suppose anything is possible.

No, we don't expect to receive any money back as a result of our report. The report is appearing to warn other prospective Canal House guests (and guests anywhere else!) against leaving anything of value out.

The money wasn't in locked luggage but at the bottom of my travel pocketbook that has a locking clip on it. The thief had to unlock that clip in an effort to find anything of value.

As I said in my message, both my husband and I were stupid and lacking sufficient concern about our possessions. We don't ordinarily carry much cash, but were asked to bring payment for a house rental rather than using a credit card. Never again!!!

NewbE Aug 7th, 2014 01:28 PM

What a shame. While we don't travel with large amounts of cash, I never worry about the things we do leave in the room because I figure hotel staff are so unlikely to steal--they're always the first suspects!

caroll, it may be of small comfort to you, but I am certain that if a staff member stole the money, s/he will get caught, perhaps not for your incident but probably sooner rather than later. Stealing while working at a hotel just won't work for long.

I am also curious how the money was stolen from a locked bag...

NewbE Aug 7th, 2014 01:29 PM

Ignore my last question, we were posting at the same time.

IMDonehere Aug 7th, 2014 01:36 PM

I just looked on line and Canal House only has 23 rooms. Thus strangers padding about is highly unlikely. The manager checked the lockers because 1. he must appear to be doing something and 2. there are stupid thieves, but even if there was cash how would they attribute to you?

The most worrisome thing for those who wish to stay there in the future, is that no matter how careless the OP was, someone was looking for something to steal.

Did OP speak about or somehow show that they had cash in some public place?

suze Aug 7th, 2014 02:04 PM

I'm wondering that too. How someone would know to target that one purse left in an empty room with a LOT of cash in it?? Or why, since it is in your 'travel pocketbook' you weren't carrying it with you. You just left it sitting in your hotel room and went out?

Regardless... water under the bridge, and I *am* sorry for your financial loss.

DeborahAnn Aug 7th, 2014 03:18 PM

carolll, I'm so sorry to hear about the theft. Thank you for taking the time to post a warning.

We also had to have a lot more cash than usual for a final payment and a large security deposit for our apartment in Paris this June. My husband carried the money in a pouch under his clothes. I know it wasn't always comfortable for him but now after what you experienced, I'm really glad he did it. I was uneasy traveling with so much cash also. I don't think most of the places we stayed even have safes in the room. I guess I have just been lucky since I have buried cash and extra credit cards in my luggage. I always felt no one would go to the trouble to rummage through my suitcase.

I wonder, was your purse left in the open in the hotel room or placed inside your suitcase? I hope there were enough positives on your trip to ease the financial hit to your wallet. Deborah

Bedar Aug 7th, 2014 03:42 PM

Years ago in Rome the hotel in which we were staying had a lot of very nice art work on the walls. After we left, we found out why - a pastel that I had rolled up and left in our suitcase was gone ! I'd like to go back there, go thru the rooms, and find t. Of course, I don't remember the name of the hotel, but it was somewhere near the bottom of the Spanish Steps.
Then in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, the Azores, I had a black sundress stolen from my suitcase. The only reason I noticed it missing was that I planned to wear it that day. I complained to the management and it was returned to me.

Sorry for your loss which was a lot more costly than mine. Nevertheless, these incidents make one angry!

Pegontheroad Aug 7th, 2014 03:55 PM

It's a shame that you lost a considerable amount of money.

I make withdrawals to the amount of $500 at a time and I keep it in my money belt, which is always around my waist underneath my clothes when I leave the hotel.

I keep a smaller amount of money in my purse for use during the day.

carolll Aug 7th, 2014 04:21 PM

A heartfelt thanks to all of you for your considerate responses to my posting. Again, we had never before and never will again carry such a large amount of cash either on our person or in a bag/suitcase/travel gadget. Humongous mistake!!!
And not to belabor the point, we FORGOT completely about that bankroll. Yes, hard to believe, particularly for us...reasonably bright and aware people.
I wasn't carrying my purse with me because it tends to be heavy. We were out and about for many hours each day and I tend to get wiped out by the walking, heat, and age related infirmities.
Lesson learned...I hope!

rickmav Aug 7th, 2014 05:12 PM

I can imagine what you were feeling when you opened that bag in Munich. I know travellers cheques is a forbidden phrase on this forum, but your situation and many of the ones we face when travelling make me wish that some version was still available. We never stay in hotels with in-room safes - except in Vegas. In Europe we are either in bed and breakfasts or in self catering cottages. And most of these places ask to be paid in cash, especially if we are dealing directly with owners. I am the most anxious when we take the money out of an ATM - sometimes over several days to get the entire amount. I feel nervous having the money on us, but wouldn't leave it in the cottage, especially as we are usually gone all day. But for those few days I'm always afraid I'm going to be robbed, or will leave my purse somewhere.

Good friends of ours were recently in Tuscany when someone broke in - while they were sleeping! - and took all of their cash. There were three couples and I suspect they may have had a lot of wine in the evening because I can't imagine everyone sleeping through the robbery. They suspected it was someone associated with the rental agency or the cleaning staff because they were so familiar with the villa - but the Italian police found nothing. One couple had over $3000 with them to buy gifts and a dinner service. They refused to use credit cards because they had been the victim of identity theft last year. Although one couple has sworn they will never travel to Italy again, our friends are more creeped out by the fact that the robber(s) was tip-toeing about while everyone was asleep.

KTtravel Aug 7th, 2014 06:17 PM

So creepy to have items stolen while you are sleeping! This happened to my son in his college dorm room. He lost a nice pair of headphones while he was asleep but some other students lost much more. They did tighten security precautions after the thefts.

bilboburgler Aug 8th, 2014 04:50 AM

Really sad you had this happen to you and glad you posted, it takes guts as well.

You said " We don't ordinarily carry much cash, but were asked to bring payment for a house rental rather than using a credit card. Never again!!!"

So sensible

Odin Aug 8th, 2014 05:47 AM

I've paid cash for accommodation all over the world. Usually I withdraw the cash on the day and pay it right away and I don't hang on to the money. If my daily allowance is insufficient, sometimes owners are ok with paying it over couple days, otherwise, I pay it in full on arrival or do a bank transfer. Apart from the risk of theft, I might somehow mislay the money myself so prefer to get rid asap.

IMDonehere Aug 8th, 2014 05:50 AM

The more people use Airbnb and the like the more people need cash. Many owners only want cash.

Sue_xx_yy Aug 8th, 2014 06:26 AM

"The hotel uses cards instead of door keys."

Those cards are convenient for the hotel (no worries if a guest forgets to return the card) but I'm wondering if the electronic lock was hacked. It has happened at a Hyatt:

A guy named Cody Brocious, a software developer for Mozilla, demonstrated how a brand of lock, Onity, can be hacked.

If they can hack the electronic lock, I suspect they can hack the 'lock' of a locked bag. Locks on bag should only be relied on to slow someone down, not keep them out (they can always take a razor to the bag I suspect.)

I'm sorry for your financial loss, but glad that you yourselves are safe.

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