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A New Jersey Hotel Guest Details His Experience Concerning
the Loss of a Laptop from His Hotel Room

Received from ray < > on September 14, 2007

On a recent stay at Deptford Fairfield Inn Marriott, 1160 Hurffville Rd, Deptford NJ, 08096 we were robbed during housekeeping.  We were on day three of a four day stay and the theft occurred on the last day when housekeeping would be needed. We left the hotel at around 11:20 am on the day of the robbery to visit a local grocery store and we returned at approximately 1:15 pm to find ONE of our laptops stolen from the room. Below are the details of what took place over the next 2 weeks.

We arrived at the Deptford FairField Inn by Marriott on Thursday evening August 30th 2007. The hotel is a very nice clean place and the guest staff made us feel welcome so it came as a shock to discover that our laptop was stolen during housekeeping and the hotel has never accepted responsibility despite overwhelming evidence. Things were good in every aspect until Sunday morning Sept, 2nd 2007, the final housekeeping day for us. We went to the lobby to get a coffee and ice and then came back to our room #225 . My guest and I opened our lap tops and went online to search for a grocery store called Aldi. We programed the stores address into my GPS and then tidied up as usual, placing our laptops on the desk and making sure no clothing was in the bed linens and such. 

We both have Apple I-Books they are pretty much identical on the outside. So as we had done up to this moment I placed my computer flat on the desk and she stood hers in its travel bag right behind mine. We were sharing her power supply and as I bent down to put my cords back inside my empty luggage that was sitting on the floor next to the desk I plugged the power supply into my computer. Then we went to Aldi.  We left the hotel around 11:20 (checked cell phone records)  and arrived back at 1:15. As I walked into the room housekeeping had been there because the bed was made. I went to the desk to empty my pockets and I instantly noticed the laptop that was in the travel bag was missing.

I ran into the hallway and the housekeeping crew was still there as I announced there was a missing computer from our room.  A young cleaning lady called the manager for us. I asked the young cleaning lady who had cleaned our room and another older cleaning lady instantly announced from a few rooms away that she didn't take a computer and she looked so guilty she almost passed out. Her whole body was shaking and she remained at least 3 rooms away from us the entire time. Stacy the manager came and another person from housekeeping arrived and they looked around in the rooms that our housekeeper had been in on our floor but didn't find the missing laptop. We called the police and they came and saw no signs of forced entry. The staff did a card key check and only two keys had been used, mine and housekeeping. 

The stolen laptop was in a black apple laptop bag, but the power supply does not fit in that type bag. The power supply was plugged into the wall and hooked to My laptop that was sitting right in the open on the desk. The thief also rummaged through drawers looking for something else to steal.  They totally ransacked one drawer but did not take the Canon digital camera that was in it.  They also searched my laptop bag that was standing against the wall behind my red travel bag on the floor and found MY charger in one of the inside pockets of the bag. They took my charger and the laptop and left the room. They passed up the canon digital camera, my apple lap top, my lap top bag containing two web cams and spare battery for the canon camera and a memory card and the charger that was in use at the time.

Our empty red travel bag I had on the floor would have held both laptops and laptop bags as well as the camera and many other items and still have been half empty. For instance if a guest was to enter the room while housekeeping was there they would have cleaned us out faster by just scooping both lap tops and cases into the bag before leaving as fast as possible. The theft occurred on the last day of our four day stay where housekeeping would have been needed. The laptops where as far into the room as you could go so the thief had to enter the room fully in their search for our treasures. So who do you think stole it?

The hotel had us file an insurance claim, that claim was submitted almost immediately. The manager offered us use of a phone, and the number to notify local police if we felt we wanted to and we did. The police arrived very fast and took a report that would later be followed up by NJ police detective 1-856-718-6877. He checked out our story and started his investigation.  His skills at police work identified TWO housekeepers may have been involved, The housekeepers soon contacted lawyers and refused to cooperate with police. The insurance company Zurichna, has also told us that they are not responsible to settle any claim with us because we could not prove the workers did the crime. Hotels have in their protection a Law in I believe all states that is called  "The InnKeepers Law" The innkeepers law says that if a hotel has a safe that you can use then you have the power to protect your belongings.  The law does not say they have to provide the safe free of charge or even tell you your rights as you really have none to tell you about. Yes we could have purchased the use of the safe so yes the insurance company is correct standing behind this law. Sounds like extortion, buy the safe or you will be sorry, as we have keys to your room. I replaced the laptop for my guest at my expense.

In the last few days before I posted this review about how you can expect to be treated at the Fairfield Inn by Marriott or any other Marriott property if you're robbed during or by housekeeping I have learned a couple more facts. The Fairfield Inn Marriott had no general manager and has been looking for one since 03/13/2007 sounds like the inmates are running the prison here.  The insurance form they have you fill in is bogus since the hotels and the insurance company stand behind "The Innkeepers Law" to protect them from losses due to theft even if you're robbed by the staff.  No real proof, the housekeeping crew that cleaned our room contacted lawyers to prevent the police from contacting them. With no eyewitness or photo evidence the police can not force the workers to incriminate themselves so the case is in limbo. The Tharaldson lodging company operates The Fairfield Inn by Marriott as well as many others. Their slogan is neat "Impressing Employees...Impressing Guests...Impressive Results"  I am NOT impressed! 

So our losses are the laptop, laptop case, charger, four day hotel room fees, driving expenses to replace the stolen computer, lost software and music. One other loss that will never be replaced is the fun of travel and staying at Marriott properties. I hope anyone who reads this will take my warning and hopefully never experience the loss we have suffered.

Charging a fee to use a safe to protect your possessions from the staff in a hotel room you are already paying for is extortion.

The names of the suspects have been removed from this letter to protect their right to hide behind their Lawyer.






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