IMPD investigating weekend thefts at downtown hotels

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A woman from Minnesota got a scary shock Saturday evening when she returned to her room at the Staybridge Suites in downtown Indianapolis.

The woman told Metropolitan police she walked into her room on the fourth floor to find a strange man rifling through her belongings.

“She said she screamed in a fear for her life,” a police report states. “She said that is when the subject ran out of their room.”

The woman said the man, who was wearing all black clothing, black ball cap and lighter color gym shoes, dropped a backpack as he ran off. But she said he still got away with a pouch full of gift cards and a small wristlet wallet.

“Imagine what she may have felt,” said IMPD Sgt. Chris Wilburn. “I think she did the right thing, loud outburst, letting people know that she needed help, screaming.”

Later Saturday night, a man staying at the downtown Westin hotel told police he returned to his room to find a laptop, cash and other items missing from his room. The man told police he may have forgotten to secure his door before leaving that evening. Security video at the hotel showed the suspect in a gray hooded sweatshirt, blue winter vest coat, dark jeans, and light gray tennis shoes. The hotel cameras captured him running outside onto Maryland Street with a gray bag tucked under his coat.

Hours later, a couple staying at the Alexander hotel told police they returned to their room to find a wallet missing and a backpack rifled through. A backpack containing an iPad and other items was also gone. The man and woman told police they were sure they had closed and locked their door before leaving the room.

An employee at the Staybridge Suites said there has been chatter among downtown hotel managers about thieves walking hotel hallways, testing room doors to see if they are unlocked.

Police are still working to determine how suspects got into each of the hotel rooms over the weekend.  The manager at Staybridge Suites said it is not believed that the victim's door was secured and locked.

Wilburn said it’s vitally important to double check doors to make sure they are closed and locked. But, he said, it’s also important to keep any valuables left at the hotel locked up as well.

“By securing them in a hotel safe that is in the room available for you,” Wilburn said. “If you don’t feel comfortable there, then checking those items in at the front desk.”

Wilburn said it’s also important for hotel guests to be on the lookout for anyone who may be posing as hotel employees. The victims at the Alexander reported seeing a man carrying a bottle of window cleaner in the hallway. But they said he wasn’t dressed like other hotel staff members. Wilburn said you should look for uniforms or name tags on anyone who appears like an employee of a hotel.