The Most Frequently Stolen Items From Hotel Rooms Might Surprise You

For whatever reason, staying in hotels seems to bring out the kleptomaniac in even the most honest people. It starts with taking home the miniature toiletries (which are of course, fair game) and before you know it, you’re trying to figure out how to stuff the fluffy white bathrobe into your suitcase without anyone noticing it’s gone.

Now we’re all familiar with the rampant theft of towels and linen from hotel rooms – in fact, the problem is so widespread that some hotels have resorted to inserting tracking devices in their linens to stop the thievery. However, it seems some hotel guests will steal just about anything that’s not nailed down (and some things that are). A poll of Britons uncovered a surprising array of goods pilfered regularly from hotel rooms.Among the more bizarre items stolen were curtains, with 27 percent of respondents admitting to taking home the drapes. Artwork was also high on the list, with one in three people claiming to have pinched the paintings right off the wall. Thirty-six percent also said they’d made off with picture frames from their hotel room – one can only presume these are the same folks that took the artwork. Other items of note included kettles, which were swiped by 19 percent of respondents (this was a survey of tea-loving Brits so perhaps it shouldn’t surprise). Hotels have also been busy replacing batteries and light bulbs, with more than half of respondents confessing to emptying out remote controls and lamps.

But perhaps the biggest sin to have been committed by British hotel guests? Stealing the bible. In an ironic twist, seven percent of people owned up to pocketing the very book that condemns theft.

[Photo credit: Flickr user UggBoy UggGirl]

Tracking devices in hotel linens thwart thievery

tracking device hotel linensIn case you wondered, Big Brother is watching. In your hotel room. A Miami-based company, Linen Tracker, has patented a radio-frequency identification chip that keeps real-time inventory of frequently misplaced or stolen items such as hotel linens. Like, you know, that plushy robe you planned to take as a souvenir, or that Egyptian cotton pillowcase that sent you into such blissful slumber. The chips are also designed to help hotel managers and maids stock rooms and order supplies.

reports that three hotels, in New York, Miami and Honolulu, are using Linen Trackers, and the company’s executive vice president, William Serbin, sees a bright future for the devices. “Any given month, [hotels] can lose five to 20 percent of towels, sheets and robes. That gets expensive with the rising cost of cotton.”

Serbin was inspired by the sensors used on toll roads that he drove on in Florida. “We tweaked the technology, went through trial and error with different types of chips and put them in the correct place,” he explains. “Now, chip life exceeds 300 wash cycles.”

So far, the chips appear to be working: a handful of linen thieves have been apprehended, and asked to return the pilfered items to the hotel. Shame, it seems, is also an effective deterrent.

[Photo credit: Flicrk user C Ray Dancer]