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Usual Suspects? Who’s Really Responsible for Hotel Thefts?

 

In the old mystery movies it was always the butler who committed the crime. It became so cliché that even now, fifty years after the “butler” movies, people still refer to them. In the hotel industry, when a crime such as theft has been committed, it is always the maid who is blamed for the crime.

It seems logical that the only person who has access to the room besides the person paying for it would be the maid, so they must have committed the theft. But this type of logic has led to many false accusations because it appears to be much easier for guest to blame the housekeeping staff for missing items.

In some cases, this is a valid accusation. However, more and more cases are surfacing where the maid staff are not the true culprits.

False accusations have cost many innocent employees their jobs and reputation, especially in cities like Las Vegas. Las Vegas criminal defense attorney firms are well versed in litigating on the behalf of individuals who have been accused of petty thefts and grand larceny in hotel crimes.

However, in recent years, con artist and theft rings have been responsible for hotel thefts, making it more and more challenging to  prevent.

New Technologies Makes Easy Thefts

A new technology, that first hit the market in 2012, has made breaking into electronically locked hotel rooms much easier and very discreet.

This simple little tool is about the size of a pen, easy to carry in a short pocket, and is inserted into the data port at the bottom of the lock. In just a few seconds the device has scanned the codes in the lock and the door opens. The thief now has compete access to the room.

The news of this device quickly spread over the Internet and many criminals also found the “how-to-use” videos that were posted on the video site very helpful in earning this new trick. It did not take long for many tourist areas to start reporting many thefts taking place in their hotel rooms.

Nevada has experienced crime rings that are targeting the major hotels with these devices. Because of the size of the device and the large amount of people that are in and out of these hotels each day, it has been very hard to stop this from occurring. Many hotels are currently working with the electronic lock manufacturers to change the physical structure and programming of the device to prevent this from happening.

In Nevada, state laws deem theft as the acquisition of another person’s property with the intent to defraud them of ownership by any means.

Theft of up to $249 is considered petty theft and anything valued at $250 or higher is considered grand larceny. Grand larceny is also separated into different categories depending on the final category, with each level carrying a stricter punishment.

Protecting Yourself While In A Hotel Room

When you are traveling, it is always in your best interest to take advantage of the hotel safe when you are not in your room. If the room safe is not large enough for your valuables, including things like your laptop, then you should check with the front desk about placing your items in the main hotel safe. All hotels offer this service, many for free.

You should also make sure that when you travel that you do not flash around your valuables or brag about large winnings in the casino. This just opens up your vulnerability to theft. Thieves often frequent the lobby and lounge areas of hotels looking for someone who is bragging too loudly because they make the perfect target.

Traveling does not have to turn into a hassle if you take the time to make sure that your personal items are secure whenever you leave your room. In most cases this is all you will have to do to protect yourself and your personal items from theft.

In the end, the stigma of “the butler did it” has caused countless housekeeping staff members to be wear the label of the usual suspect, some completely without merit or proof. Many of them loose out on the finances and dignity they desperately need and deserve because of false accusations.

Here’s to hoping the hospitality industry will take a more active role in properly investigating hotel room thefts, as well as defending hardworking members of their team.

Author Bio. Jamica Bell is a freelance writer and blogger. She contributes this article as a way to highlight the trend of hotel thefts by con artist and theft rings. During her research she found a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney website to be a very useful resource in how to protect yourself against crimes like petty theft and grand larceny.

Photo credit: http://flic.kr/p/6pmcbC

Reference: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8281752.stm

Reference: http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/hotel-room-lock-hack-tied-ongoing-thefts-1C9962178

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