2013-08-22 / Columns

Along These Lines

The Art Of Hotel Theft

I have never taken anything (traceable) from a hotel room. But some people masquerading as guests make careers out of hotel theft. They will swipe anything that isn’t nailed down in order to refurbish their own home.

The pilfering begins at checkin with an unusual request designed to distract the front desk clerk: “Can you check the computer for a room that’s on the third floor, has a room number that’s the square of a prime number, is non-smoking with a northeast facing window, and allows goats?”

While the clerk dutifully taps away at the keyboard, the guest quickly snatches pens, pencils, postcards, and the hospitable “Welcome” sign that management foolishly chose not to glue to the front counter. “That’ll look nice in MY office,” thinks the guest, as the sign disappears up his shirtsleeve with all the skill of a professional magician.

Upon entering his room, the hotel thief promptly sets to work, stuffing his suitcases with bottles of shampoo, hand lotion, soaps, tissues, coffee packs, more pens and pencils. While these consumables are normally considered standard guilt-free spoils of hotel occupation, the professional hotel thief’s greed knows no limit. Having mastered the art of fabric folding, fluffy towels, blankets, sheets, and curtains are all skillfully folded and packed in the luggage. Then comes the big ticket loot: clock radios, coffee makers, hairdryers, lamps, a tacky painting or two, furniture, and even TVs.

Large electronic items are highly prized, but challenging to remove with impunity. Before retiring for the night, the hotel thief mayriska2a.m.dashtothecar with the television tucked under his arm, cleverly camouflaged wrapped in the room’s shower curtain.

Rising early, he prepares for the getaway. But not before patiently pacing the corridor prior to check-out, in hopes of stumbling upon the Holy Grail of hotel replacement supplies: a temporarily unattended housekeeper’s trolley loaded with goodies. Checking for security cameras and stray stoolie guests who may have scruples, he pounces once the maid disappears into an empty room.

With all the gracefulness of a front end loader, shampoos, soaps, teabags, sugar packages, condiment bottles and tableware from breakfast trays are scooped from the vulnerable cart, which is picked clean with the ferocity of a piranha attack.

Proceeding downstairs, the final stop is the free breakfast buffet. While the primary objective is to stuff himself with enough food to last until next Labor Day, there is only so much biscuits and gravy a human stomach can hold. This is why our hotel thief arrives at the buffet sporting winter attire, even in mid-August. You wouldn’t believe how many donuts, Danishes, and muffins he can discretely cram into the pockets of a trench coat.

The professional breakfast bandit will also have additional secret pockets sown into the lining of his coat, with the capacity to store enough food to stock his home pantry for winter. So he skillfully conceals the contraband which includes multiple mini breakfast cereal boxes, packages of sugar, Half-and-Half, butter, syrup, jellies, and enough fruit to open a roadside market.

Walking to the lobby, small beads of sweat drain from his forehead, as one thought runs through his mind: “If only I had time to go back for the carpet.”

Proceeding to check-out, he throws more divisionary questions at the concierge: “Was that Gary Busey on the elevator?”

It works. Distracted, the clerk doesn’t notice the hotel thief’s bulging overcoat or that he’s checking out with four times as many suitcases as he checked in.

But just as the path to a clean getaway is within view, our lightfingered lodger is stopped in his tracks.

“Just a moment, Sir,” announces the desk clerk suddenly. “There’s a note here indicating an accident in the car park overnight damaged your vehicle, and it was towed for repairs. It will be ready tomorrow…. Bellboy, take this gentleman’s bags back to his room. And help him off with his coat.”

Return to top

© 2009-2018 Spencer Evening World, Inc. | Privacy Policy
No commercial reproduction without written consent. 
Electronic reproduction of any kind forbidden without written consent.

Click here for digital edition
2013-08-22 digital edition


It looks like Spring is almost ready to stick around. What activity are you looking forward to the most?