Story about hotel theft...

Old Jan 16th, 2009, 07:24 PM
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Story about hotel theft...

Hi All,
I am at a hotel conference and just thought I would relay a story told to me by a Las Vegas hotel.
I thought it was interesting for several reasons.

A few months ago a guest at a nice hotel in the LAS area complained that some of her belongings had been stolen from her room.
She was furious and claimed housekeeping stole her stuff...all this in the lobby, loudly, in front of other guests.
The GM discussed the matter with her and got a list of items missing.
He felt certain his long term employee responsible for that area WAS NOT responsible for this theft.
So, he decided to pull the card history and saw that the housekeeping staff cleaned at 10am and the guest returned at noon without incident.
Then she returned at 3pm and saw that items were missing.
There was no card activity between 12 and 3.
So he went back to the guest and asked if possibly she had left her room open, not completely closed the door.
This infuriated her and she just went crazy saying he was trying to blame her and she was not so stupid to not make sure the door was fully closed.
So, the GM went to the hallway security video to see if he could get any info.
He sees the housekeeping staff go in and out... then the lady goes in and as she comes out she is distracted by her phone or something. Then, about an hour later he sees a well dressed man walking down the hall dragging his hand casually along the wall as he appears to be talking on a phone.
He stops at her door and goes right in and then out less than 2 minutes later and heads straight back to the elevator, looking down the whole time.
The GM asks the irate customer to come and watch the video. It is quite evident that she failed to completely latch the door and the guy was walking along PUSHING on doors to see if one was open.
The hotel still covered her loss, even though there was little they could have done. The elevators are key protected and there is plenty of security (it's a big casino).

Discussing it with him, he said that this sort of scenario is quite common.
He also said that there are professional thieves that target
hotels specifically. They wait for people to leave stuff when they go to the buffet...leave their door open, even for just a minute... and turn their backs on luggage at ceck out/in.

I always double check my door... now I will triple check.
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 10:34 PM
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While the point of the story is well taken and the advice is quite good and these things do happen, I wonder if this specific incident actually happened or if the employee was simply trying to offer some solid advice. It seems to the me that the GM or whomever would have gone IMMEDIATELY to the video after checking the room's card history.
Still, TxTravelPro, thanks for passing along the good advice!
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 09:58 AM
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To me the buffets are scary. The number of women that go off to the buffet, leaving their purse at an empty table is amazing. It's simply asking for it to be taken.

(I NEVER let go of mine in ANY public place - even an upscale restaurant - never mind a buffet open to anyone.)
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 10:31 AM
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And be careful who you leave your purse with, so many men are not in tune with having purses with them all day. So many times I ask a male companion to "watch my purse" and then see him at the buffet or walking off to the restroom and my purse is sitting on the chair by itself. I now just take it with me wherever I am going.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 10:35 AM
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Not many people travel as much as we do and know all the risks, and some may come from areas that are just so safe...

In the Rhode Island town I lived in a few years ago, most people don't lock their car doors or even HOME doors.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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Kal
 
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I always pull then push the door before leaving.

If housekeeping has already been in, I always keep the TV or radio on and if at night a light.

AND always hang the Do Not Disturb sign.

That GM had the patience of a Saint.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 05:28 PM
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This was a real story... the reason he did not immediately go to the video is because he has to go through a security process to review tape. The casino has loads of processes regarding security video. OTOH, he could see the key history without much effort.
Many hotels are targeted by pretty sophisticated criminals.
Loads of crimes against men are never even reported... because they involve hookers or one night stands.
Women mostly get purses snatched.
In SJC and Austin, loads of laptops get grabbed.
This whole issue was discussed because the person posted a nasty review on the web (not sure where) and the hotel had great difficulty getting it removed... and they were very lucky because the conversations were well documented and the lady used her real name in her profile.

But for me it just reminded me to be diligent about my security and my 'stuff'.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 05:53 PM
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<< I always pull then push the door before leaving.

If housekeeping has already been in, I always keep the TV or radio on and if at night a light.

AND always hang the Do Not Disturb sign.
>>

That's what we do too!
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 05:53 PM
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I too wonder if this was not some friend of a friend kind of story (fictional but based on a real story). As for checking the videos, it is not a big deal and done regularly. Regardless, it's always a good idea to make sure your door closes behind you.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 05:58 PM
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The OP works in the hospitality industry. Why doubt the story told to her by a LV hotel personnel?

Sounds totally believable.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 06:07 PM
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I leave the "Do not Disturb" sign on the door.

I read, on here I believe, that that is not really the best thing to do. It tells a potential thief that the rooms is occupied and that there is stuff in there worth stealing.

Better to have no sign on the door, so they won't know if room is occupied or not.

I don't have any stats on this, it is just something my brain sort of remembers seeing on here. Safety tips for traveling alone or something along those lines.

Deb

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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 06:23 PM
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Kal
 
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Deb...so that means the crook would bust in while you were there?

"Take my lap top but please leave my kidney"!
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 06:38 PM
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hmmm, Kal -- make sure your room is close to the ice machine so they can pack ya in the tub with lots of ice [isn't that what the old story about the kidney said??].


Deb
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 07:00 PM
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Hmmmmm... a little word association going on here for me.



Kidney = AnneMarieC


Ok, back on topic... I too am a chronic door checker. I also subscribe to Deb's theory of leaving off the do not disturb sign.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 08:43 PM
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So this story is reminding us to be sure and close our hotel room doors?
;-)

I kept reading looking for the stolen diamonds or something -lol!

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Old Jan 18th, 2009, 02:09 AM
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In the same vein of protecting your valuables, I read an article several years ago about signs in a museum warning people to protect their belongings.

Invariable people touch their body to check their valuables (men touch the pocket where they have their wallet, etc)

Crooks hang out near the sign and can see who has valuable on them and where they are.

I also take the position that I am a tourist and they are professional thiefs. I try to have as little of value with me as possible.
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Old Jan 18th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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I'm still curious what was stolen?
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Old Jan 18th, 2009, 02:04 PM
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What exactly was stolen was not mentioned...
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Old Jan 18th, 2009, 03:04 PM
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It's not enough to push the door and make sure it's closed!! Please read on:

In addition to making sure the door is closed, turn the knob and try to open it. A few years ago I was on a business trip and after I closed the door to my hotel room I tried to open it just to make sure it was locked. The door opened up right away. I went back into the room and tried to figure out how to lock it but nothing worked.

I finally called the front desk and told them my door does not lock when it's closed. They sent a maintenance guy up and he opened the card reader/locking device. Right away he saw the problem--the batteries in the locking device were no good. This was obvious because there was dried battery acid all over the device. He replaced the batteries and cleaned the device and it worked perfectly.

I can't help but wonder how long this lock hadn't worked. The dried battery acid suggests the batteries had been dead for some time, hence the lock hadn't been functional for quite awhile.

I posted a thread about this, I'll try to find it again.
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Old Jan 18th, 2009, 06:20 PM
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Well, it would make a better story if we knew what was stolen.
;-)
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