Tag: Hotel Crime

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Another Hotel Shootout, This Time at the Omni Downtown Austin Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 700 San Jacinto at 8th Street [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
July 6, 2015 at 8:36 PM | by | ()

We have a few fears about staying in hotels, usually centered around someone breaking into our room and the hotel overcharging us for WiFi, but now we have "shootout" to add to the list.

A gunman walked into the lobby of the Omni Hotel Downtown Austinand killed a 60-year-old cab driver, before being shot to death by police offers. The incident happened at around 5am on Sunday morning, after 911 received a call from the hotel with a report of a man walking around the lobby carrying a gun. Police arrived on the scene to find a man carrying a rifle and a body on the ground. When the suspect pointed the gun at police, they returned gunfire, killing him near the hotel's restaurant.

The gunman was later identified as Michael Holt, who rented a desk from a start-up incubator called Capital Factory, which has operations inside the Omni Hotel's building. This shooting comes nearly a week after another deranged gunman killed 27 tourists in Tunisia.

We suspect the restaurant will be out of service at the Omni Hotel for at least a few days while the crime scene continues to be investigated but you'd never know that from the Omni Hotel's website which makes no note of the incident or of any closures. Omni Hotel's Facebook page has also remained silent on the matter. We reached out to an Omni rep but have not heard back with a comment on the shooting.

Tomorrow, the hotel is hosting Trailer Food Tuesdays and according to that group's Facebook page, the event is still on. We found rooms at the hotel tomorrow night starting from $269.

[Photo: Omni Hotels]

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The Weirdest Hotel Robbery Continues to Get Weirder at The London West Hollywood

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  Site Where: 1020 N. San Vicente Boulevard [map], West Hollywood, CA, United States, 90069
March 2, 2015 at 4:26 PM | by | ()

The Oscar Awards were so last week, but just as the water cooler talk about which movies won and which movies should have won, so continues talk about someone's glamorous dress. Only this is so much more complicated than, "Who are you wearing?"

Just before the weekend, news came out that last year's Oscar winner, Luptia Nyong'o had her expensive Calvin Klein pearl dress stolen from her suite at The London West Hollywood the day after the awards show. At the time, the hotel issued a statement saying the "unfortunate" incident, first reported by TMZ (of course), was true and that they were helping the police in their investigation.

Things took a weird turn on Friday when the dress was RETURNED to the hotel, stuffed inside a garbage bag and left under a bathroom sink in one of the public bathrooms at the hotel. Making the return of the beautiful dress even stranger was that the thief called TMZ (of course) to say that the dress was not worth the estimated $150,000 talked about in the press, because a jeweler told him the pearls on the dress were fake.

You would think that despite the fakery and despite not catching the thief, the case of the missing dress would be largely shut. After all, the dress was returned, no harm, no foul, except maybe two easily replaceable pearls were missing. But no, it gets even weirder.

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Calling All Hotel Kleptos: Would A Charge Sheet Like This Make You Think Twice?

Where: Australia
September 23, 2014 at 7:56 AM | by | ()

First things first: stealing from hotel rooms is wrong. Unless it’s the toiletries or the notepad-pen-pencil combo, you shouldn’t be doing that. You’re not an idiot, you already know that.

And yet many of you – 43 percent of Brits, or 35 percent of everyone according to two recent surveys – do. Ok, let’s be honest, many of us – I personally have filched a couple of towels in my time (NB: HotelChatter in no way condones this behavior and I’m not doing it to boast – just to say that the most honest people can go klepto in a hotel room).

To combat this, most hotels only go as far as those little labels on the bathrobes, letting you know how much they’ll sting you for if you nick them (or “if you wish to purchase them” as they so delicately word it). But a hotel group in Australia has gone one further: it’s drawn up a price list of the weirdest, yet most coveted, items, letting you know how much it’ll charge your credit card should you decide to take something.

The Desire menu at QT hotels lists the 14 most filchable objects, from the obvious (robe: $175; umbrella: $45) to the bizarre (coathanger: $10; bathroom glasses: $14).

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How to Get Mistaken for Solicitation at The Borgata

July 9, 2013 at 11:25 AM | by | ()

Everyone knows that gambling has a dark side but Chanize's recent experience at The Borgata took it to an entirely different level with her being accused of something completely outrageous while at the blackjack table. Here's her story in her own words. Our mother really was right--nothing good happens after midnight...or 3am.

I don’t know whether to feel sorry for the powers-that-be at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel or furious with them, so I'm going for a happy medium. On the eve of their 10-year anniversary, the casino suffered a trauma, and in their flustered state ended up accusing me of, how to say it gently—soliciting services.

Now I’ve been called many a thing in my time, but hooker is a first. Until now.

But let’s back this thang up and tell you how the hoopla went down.

Apparently while many guests (including myself) were at The Borgata’s Event Center watching The Roots tear up the stage with Slash and Jill Scott, a robbery took place. According to this article , at 8:45pm a group of men came in and boosted $500,000 worth of jewelry from a Borgata store. Of course, we were none the wiser, enjoying the concert and all.

Read on for the rest of Chanize's cautionary tale.

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Have You Ever Slept In the Hotel Lobby?

April 19, 2013 at 2:07 PM | by | ()

We came across an article published earlier last week on the Santa Monica Mirror that described a woman who showed up at the Loews Santa Monica at 1am, asking for a room. The hotel had availability, so they asked for a credit card, and the woman handed over (what she claims was) her credit card. Which was declined.

That's when things got strange. Apparently, instead of just walking away, the woman demanded a free room, and when that request wasn't granted, she simply went to sleep on one of the couches in the lobby.

Now, we've been through plenty of hotels where the lobby was big enough to house our apartment several times over. And we often thought, 'What if we just dozed off for a couple hours in the lobby a couple of hours, then set off on our way?' We'd certainly be saving ourselves lots o' cash, and the hotel would be none the wiser!

We're not saying what this (probably deranged) woman did was right—in fact, the hotel ended up calling the police and she was arrested and taken to jail. But we are wondering: have you ever slept in some part of the hotel that wasn't your room? Was it on purpose? Did you get caught?

We're open to hearing all your crazy stories: just drop a comment below, or, in the interest of anonymity, send us an email!

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Shooting and Death Outside French Montana's Philly Hotel

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  Site Where: 100 North Christopher Columbus Blvd [map], Philadelphia, PA, United States, 19106
March 1, 2013 at 12:03 PM | by | ()

A man is dead, and one hurt after a shooter opened fire on rapper French Montana’s tour bus outside of the Holiday Inn Express on Penn's Landing late last night. We hope this isn’t the hotel HC just wrote about that recently opened. If so the property certainly isn’t off to a good start!

French, the man behind the popular club and radio banger “Pop That” had just finished a show at the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia and was not hurt.

According to NBC Philadelphia News, when the artists’ tour bus arrived around midnight on Christopher Columbus Boulevard near the Holiday Inn Express where he and his group had rooms reserved, a crowd formed outside the bus. A car then pulled up and opened fire on the crowd, hitting a 27-year-old man in the abdomen and a 29-year-old man in the shoulder, according to Chief Inspector Scott Small.

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Tuesday's Travel Tales: Hotel Murder & Mayhem

Where: Various Hotels , United States
February 26, 2013 at 1:18 PM | by | ()

Lately, we've been reading about real macabre stuff going down at hotels, some involving guests. Seriously, it's all starting to feel like one long episode of Unsolved Mysteries: Special Hotels Edition . As far as hotels go, we're not quite sure the whole "no such thing as bad press" rule applies. Especially when it comes to grisly crime scenes, so we figure we should fill you in on what's going on out there.

Here are some recent events:

On February 15th, security cameras at a Marriott in Tarrytown, New York caught a 30-something, tattooed, Carhartt-wearing man, fleeing the scene of a date rape. Unfortunately the cops haven't caught the perp yet.

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Dead Body Found in LA Hotel's Water Tank

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  Site Where: 640 S. Main St [map], Los Angeles, CA, United States, 90014
February 21, 2013 at 1:54 PM | by | ()

Guests at the historic Cecil Hotel in downtown LA had been complaining about low water pressure in their rooms. Eventually the cause was discovered---a body was at the bottom of the water cisterns, blocking water flow.

On Tuesday, a hotel maintenance worker discovered the body of 21-year old Elisa Lam inside a tank that helps provide water for the hotel after guests, according to CNN, complained that the water also "tasted funny" and had a "black color" when you first turned the tap on. The Canadian woman had been reported by missing by her parents a week ago. She was apparently staying at the $65-a-night hotel located near Skid Row, but hadn't been seen since the last week of January.

The hotel's cistern tanks supply water for room bathrooms, and are a washing and drinking outlet. The water is also used for cooking in the hotel--therefore the coffee shop has been shut down and is also under orders to sanitize its equipments before it reopens.

When the body was discovered, the hotel relocated guests of 27 rooms to another hotel, and for the others that chose to remain, the hotel made those guests sign a waiver that they acknowledged being informed of the health risks and were provided bottled water. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's Terrance Powell, a director coordinating the department's response, said "Our biggest concern is going to be fecal contamination because of the body in the water," Powell said. He said the likelihood of contamination is "minimal" given the large amount of water the body was found in, but the department is being cautious.

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Tastefully Dressed Thieves Rip Off The Four Seasons New York

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  Site Where: 57 East 57th Street [map], New York , NY, United States, 10022
February 20, 2013 at 9:40 AM | by | ()

It's been a while since there was drama at the Four Seasons New York, but this time the crime involved well dressed thieves as opposed to the naked nut job of yesteryear.

According to a New York Times story, NYPD spokesman Paul J. Browne said last weekend two dapper dons (one sported a trench coat) walked into the hotel's lobby at 2 a.m. and while one distracted a member of the staff, the other took a sledgehammer and smashed a jewelry display case. He grabbed $167,000 million worth of goods, from watches to chains, all from Jacob & Company, aka "Jacob The Jeweler" as Mr. Arabo is known in the hip-hop community. Initial reports from the New York Post stated the value of the stolen goods was close to $2 million. When interviewed, Mr. Arabo, who has spent some time himself on the other side of the law, wondered why his jewelry was targeted with this statement

"This is small-time, running into a hotel, smashing things with a hammer. Unfortunately, it happened to me. How come it was my window, when there were other windows with jewelry in the hotel?”
Jacob thinks he's special, obvi, but then he must have contemplated it more and answered his own question with this lightbulb thought: “I think they would recognize my name more than anyone else’s, from the magazines,” he said. Indeed, Jacob has been mentioned in many songs from Notorious B.I.G. to Kanye West to 50 Cent. The beloved provider of all things ice, whether tasteful or OTT is now considering putting future jewelry displays behind bulletproof glass, though we're not sure that will help with, you know, sledgehammers.

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BREAKING: Meth May Be Behind Today's San Diego Hotel Explosion

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 3333 Channel Way [map], San Diego, CA, United States, 92110
January 30, 2013 at 4:55 PM | by | ()

A nightmarish scene at a Sea World area hotel in San Diego. An explosion rocked the Heritage Inn-Sea World early Thursday, blowing out walls and windows and setting the roof on fire.

Even more horrifying, witnesses report seeing at least one guest engulfed in flames. Two victims were rushed to the hospital for treatment, and the third was taken to UCSD Medical Center for life-threatening burns. LAist.com reports that two of the injured were inside the room where the explosion occurred and that the other was from the room next door.

News reports state the man and woman inside the room were 'cooking' meth.

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Hotel Theft: Has It Happened To You?

January 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM | by | ()

While on vacation over the holidays, we were relieved of our cell phone. And not because we wanted to tune out like the Four Seasons Costa Rica urges guests to do.

Instead, we made the classic mistake of putting our iPhone down on a bar top for a minute while chatting with a friend. We were at a private function at Moon Palace Resort, which isn't some bootleg resort, btw. IOW, we probably were too comfortable in our surroundings.

We hesitated to name the region because it already gets an unfair bad rap in our opinion. Plus, our complaint isn't with the thief--after all, putting your phone down for a second is apparently naive, especially in areas where an iPhone must be a commodity. We're so spoiled in the U.S., you wouldn't think they were of that "high value". Nonetheless, whomever took it, shut if off immediately (we discovered it was missing in minutes), so they knew what they were doing. The phone was instantly untraceable.

We'd rather address the problem of the lax resort staff and security. They didn't seem to give a rat's ass about our issue.

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Worst Hotel Hell of 2012: Hidden Camera In Omni Hotel Bathroom

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 675 L Street [map], San Diego, CA, United States, 92101
December 28, 2012 at 12:05 PM | by | ()

It's that time of year again: the 2012 HotelChatter Awards! Today and Monday, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

As if we didn’t have enough paranoia to occupy our everyday living, we learned that an employee at the Omni San Diego was caught planting a hidden camera inside one of the hotel's public bathrooms. Spies like us? We don’t think so!

The creep in question was the hotel’s Chief of Engineering, who'd been with them for five years and no doubt had studied the ins and outs the property before deciding that the free-for-all lav was the place to catch people off-guard and with their pants down. Literally.

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