Canadian hotel offers amnesty to thieves

In honor of its upcoming 100-year anniversary, the Château Laurier Hotel in Ottawa is offering an amnesty for anyone who has pilfered something from the hotel over the last century. The historic, castle-like hotel in the Canadian capital put out the call for the items on February 23, 100 days before the 100-year anniversary, and has already received more than 60 items from people all over North America.

“The amnesty part means there are no questions asked,” said Deneen Perrin, the hotel’s director of public relations, in a telephone interview with Gadling on Wednesday. “It doesn’t matter whether your grandmother took a silver spoon and put it in her purse or if someone’s parents maybe worked in the hotel and took something, we’ll take it back.”

Perrin said that the hotel has had a steady stream of returns, both in person and through the mail. Many of the mail returns had no return address and some who return items in person place them on the front desk and slink out. One gentleman pulled up in front of the hotel and handed a bellhop a circa-1912 doorknob from the hotel before speeding off. Others have sent in old stationery, a print likeness of the hotel, swizzle sticks, teacups, china, old brass keys, and a 20’s era utility knife with the hotel logo on it.

%Gallery-150435%”We haven’t received any old TV’s or clock radios, yet,” said Perrin, who noted that hotel bathrobes are now the most commonly pilfered item in guestrooms. She said that the hotel automatically charges a guest’s credit card if they steal towels or a bathrobe but demurred when asked if guests who returned recently stolen bathrobes could get refunds.

“I’m not sure about that one,” she said. “We’d consider it.”

The hotel opened on June 1, 1912, with rooms going for $2 a night. The opening of the hotel was actually delayed by several weeks because the man who was to manage the place died on the Titanic. Perrin said that the hotel plans to open an exhibit featuring all of the returned items from the last century on June 1 this year.

According to Perrin, everyone who makes a return seems to have an alibi. Some better than others.

“Everyone who calls says, ‘now I have something but I swear I didn’t steal it,'” she said.