13 Bizarre Items People Actually Stole from Hotels
And you thought hoarding soap was bad.
One gym rat guest was staying for a while at a hotel in New Delhi, India, and kept pilfering dumbbells from the fitness center after his early-morning workouts, says hotelier Mokshta Chauhan, founder of Miss With Migratory Wings. Eventually, a housekeeper found the dumbbells and mentioned it to management. The guest denied he’d stolen them, and the hotel let it go since he was an important guest. “However, the day of his checkout he left the dumbbells in his room mentioning at the front desk that he bought the dumbbells locally and would not like to pay excess baggage fee to carry them back home,” says Chauhan. Here are 13 more of the weirdest things people have seen in hotel rooms.
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One person attempted to get away with a ceramic statue from the front doors where 12-year hotel concierge Sarah Dandashy, founder of Ask A Concierge, worked. “That person didn’t get very far, as it was rather heavy,” she says. “They ended up dropping it and running off to avoid getting caught.”
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In Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, the W Punta de Mita resort displays Munny statues traditional to the indigenous Huichol tribe. “The statues are traditional of the region’s native Huichol ancestors and are colorful and beautiful, so it’s no surprise we once caught a guest trying to leave with one of them in hand,” says Javier Puente, public relations and marketing manager of the hotel. “If guests want to purchase a Munny, we know the best spot in town to buy local Huichol art and are happy to arrange a visit.” Don’t miss these other 15 stories of dumb criminals who got caught.
It wasn’t so strange that a guest stole one of the dream catchers used as a Do Not Disturb sign from El Mangroove resort in Costa Rica. What did raise eyebrows was when he mailed it back. “He returned it six months later with a letter that said: ‘Ever since taking this dreamcatcher I’ve had a series of unfortunate events happen and mysterious bad luck; it has not had the magical effect I was hoping for but quite the opposite. Please put it back in room 213 where it belongs so my karma can be restored,’” says William Gutierrez, events manager of the resort.
To celebrate 100 years, the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, DC, recently launched an amnesty program, encouraging guests to send back items taken through the years and share the story behind it, with hopes of winning a grand prize from the hotel company. One of the best they’ve received was a hotel folio from one couple’s 1944 honeymoon, says Mark Indre, market director of public relations for Marriott Mid-Atlantic. “The newlyweds paid $6 per night and had $3.65 in restaurant charges, which would be roughly $51 in today’s prices,” he says.
A decade ago, one room number kept mysteriously missing from Washington, DC’s, Mayflower Hotel: room 871, the alleged site where former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer had a tryst with a prostitute he’d flown in from his home state. The 2008 scandal that occurred in the room led to the end of Spitzer’s career. “The hotel had to eventually nail the plaque to the wall to stop it from walking off,” says Indre. Here are 17 more of the weirdest things ever stolen.
When the Mayflower Hotel ran its own amnesty program in 2008, one of the most mind-boggling stories came from someone who’d stolen an entire bathtub. A workman had apparently been hired to break it up while the hotel was being renovated, so he snuck it into the presidential suite’s elevator and took it home.
A bit of printer paper is one thing, but one person stole an entire computer from the business center of Dandashy’s hotel. In plain sight, the person plopped it into a suitcase and walked off. “How they got that out the front door without anyone noticing is baffling,” she says. Find out about 11 of the most expensive things ever stolen.
Pots and pans
A kid once snuck into the hallway near the kitchen and swiped some high-quality pots and pans, says Erin W., a former employee for a San Antonio luxury hotel. “It was honestly something that, as a hotel, we wouldn’t have really noticed since we had so many of them,” she says. “The way that we found out, was that the boy’s father found them, and told the kid he had to return them to the hotel.”
The small boutique Cabochon Hotel in Bangkok is loaded with taxidermy—and apparently sticky hands can’t keep their fingers off. “We had something stolen more than once,” says Chris Schalkx, who works for the hotel. “The turtle shells on display are a particularly popular target.”
Pilfering the oh-so-comfy pillow you slept on the night before is understandable, but some guests take it too far and take the pillows from sofas in the lobby, says Dandashy. “This happens more often than you’d expect,” she says. Check out these other 21 things a burglar won’t tell you.
The ladies’ room in the lobby of Erin W.’s hotel had a decorative tapestry hanging on the wall—until someone decided to take it. “Since it was a restroom, we didn’t have any cameras and weren’t able to pinpoint who the thief was,” she says.
The Waldorf-Astoria asked guests to return stolen items in its 2012 amnesty program, and one woman returned the teapot her father had borrowed 74 years earlier during his honeymoon with her mother. “Every year on their anniversary, he took it out and served coffee on it,” she told the New York Times. Learn what you actually can (and can’t) steal from hotel rooms.