Many folks will be traveling for the holidays and possibly staying in hotel/motel rooms.
If you are like me you might not think about getting a couple of room keys — just in case.
TL;DR — if you get more than one room key carry both — do not leave one in the room!!!
On a trip to Philadelphia, a while ago, I got two room keys for the hotel — the Hotel shall remain nameless to protect the guilty. A confluence of separate situations ended up with a horrible outcome…
I was in fact returning from a Europe and had bought a few gifts and brought them back with me in my luggage and had a short stop over for business in Philadelphia. I checked into the hotel late and was given two room keys. When I got to my room I didn’t notice but there was NO safe. This was a Marriott family of hotels and I would have expected a safe in the room. Though the room didn’t have a safe it did have a refrigerator — a very noisy refrigerator. I was not aware, that evening, that there was no safe, but was well aware of the noisy fridge. I called down to ask if the next day they could possible replace, repair or just turn off the fridge. I went to bed.
I got up the next day to get ready to head to meetings all day and that is when I became aware of the fact that the room did not have a safe. I called down to ask if I was just not looking in the right place and the front desk said that some of the room didn’t have safes — but was assured that my room was secure. Not having a place to “safely” put the things, I left them in my bag and I zipped up my luggage, with the gifts and some electronics, and put my case next to bed and left for the day, grabbing my room key.
Latter that day — late in the afternoon — I returned to my room. I noticed that the fridge was quiet and was in fact working. Yay — I thought — not that I had bought anything to put in it but at least it would not disturb a quiet night sleep. I also noticed that my bag was on the bed — not next to it — strange! There should not have been any reason for my bag to have been moved.
I opened my bag to find that a number of the presents and some of my electronics were missing! I called down to the desk and said that someone had come into my room and took some items. Someone from security came up and took my statement and asked for a list of items that were missing.
The next day I left a message for security and the manager with the list of items. I came back at lunch to see what the hotel had found out. The head of security said that they reviewed the room entry logs (from the card key system) and it showed that my room key card was used to access the room the previous day at 3:35pm. I explained that that would have been impossible since I was giving a talk blocks away at that time. I asked what time engineering had come in to replace or repair the fridge. They said that the logs showed that they came into the room at 1:52pm. There was only one other room access and that at 5:52pm (when I returned to my room).
The manager (who had now joined us) and the head of security seemed very skeptical of the my story. Given the logs, it felt very much like I was not being believed. They indicated that they were not going to pursue this — so I said that I wanted to file a police report and asked them to call the local authorities.
About 2 and ½ hours later the police, along with the manager, arrived at my room. The officer took my statement as well as the list of items that were missing. The manager said that the room entry log didn’t show anyone entering the room other than my key at 3:35pm. And I said, other than engineering to fix the fridge.
One of the items that was taken was a FreedomCall cellphone that I only used to make WiFi calls when traveling abroad. I went onto their website and found that the phone had been used to make about thirty call over the past day and most of the calls to a single phone number in Philadelphia. I gave this information to both the hotel management as well as the police.
The next day I was called and asked to come to the office. In the office was the manager, head of security and the police officer along with a number of the items that had been taken! I asked what had happened.
I was told that one of the numbers I gave to them was familiar to the hotel — it was the home of one of the employees. When they asked this person, he said that he had come back into the my room and “grabbed the stuff”.
He explained that when they were in my room to fix the fridge he saw my “extra” room key laying on the counter and took it. Later he returned to the room and using my card key went in, went through my bag, grabbed some items and left. He left the room key on the counter.
So — the lesson learned…
If you get an extra room key — DO NOT LEAVE IT IN THE ROOM. Or JUST DONT GET ANY EXTRA KEYS!