But doesn't everybody steal from hotels?

Hotels bring out the larceny in us. My only sources of supply of such exotic toiletries as shampoo, conditioner, 0-tips and bath soap come from hotel rooms. Whenever I run out of an item, it's time for another hotel stay, Even my sainted Irish Catholic mother regularly swiped towels from every hotels she visited. How did she justify this? "Hotels want you to take their towels," she insisted. That's why they put their names on the towels. It's free advertising for the hotel."

People steal weird things from hotels. There's the guest who crawled under his bed to carefully cut out a square of carpet fit for a throw rug. A Bangkok hotel manager recalls the Eastern European air crews who nicked the spy hole from their door. "They went at it very carefully with a screwdriver and left a big hole," he recalls. "I guess security was a big issue where they come from."

Sometimes theft is more forthright another hotel manager recalls the mayhem of the Thai driver who left his Japanese client at a golf course, used his electronic key gain entry to his hotel mom and attacked his room safe with hammer and chisel, leaving a gaping hale In the concrete wall. The driver then calmly packed the safe into the Louis Vitton luggage of the Japanese tycoon and ambled out of the hotel.

The electronic key recorded the time of entry," says the hotel manager. "It wasn't hard to track the driver down."

A Chinese crew of thieves were more thorough, recalls a hotel manager who was once based in Shanghai. They changed into repairmen's overalls and stripped the room bare: TV, mini-bar, hair dryer, electric fixtures-even the carpet. "Then they brazenly strolled past the security station in their overalls. No one thought anything about it. They got away with their loot."

A travel agent tells the tale of a larcenous hotel employee who devised a novel way to get into guests' room safes: "He would rub his finger along the side of his nose and apply the facial grease to the twelve combination buttons of the safe. Later, he could decipher the four that the guest had touched. With only four numbers to deal with, the thief could eventually figure out the combination,"

More straight forward was the taxi driver who picked up a pair of wealthy tourists at Don Mueng Airport, dropped them off at a five-star hotel, and sped off with their luggage.

A public relations manager toils a story not of hotel staff theft but inadvertence - the kind that makes hotel managers' hair turn white.

"The comedienne Imogen Coca was staying at a famous hotel in Boston. She had a show to perform that night What many people don't know is that Imogen Coca has a glass eye. She put it one her night table when she went to sleep and the room maid threw it out. So Imogen Coca went on stage without her glass eye. The show must go on, right?"

One of strangest stories, related by a long-time hotelier, is "The Case of Kidnapped Teddy Bear."

At 1.16 in the morning, the night manager of a 5-star riverfront hotel in Bangkok received a hysterical phone call from a guest "HeIp! Help me please! Someone has stolen my teddy bear!"

The night manager summoned the hotel security chief and the two of them dutifully trooped up to the distraught guest's morn. Opening the door, they found two men dressed in silk negligees. Soon the pair were jumping up and down, waving their arms, working themselves up into a screaming tantrum.

"I've had my teddy bear for fifteen years!" one man cried, in tears. "I simply cannot sleep without my teddy bear!"

The night manager put on a straight face and asked for a description of the teddy bear and when was he last sighted and whether any suspicious characters had been lurking in the vicinity. Meanwhile, the security chief undertook a professional search of the suite, In the bathroom, he found huge array of cosmetics and sex toys but no teddy bear.

Calming down the two hysterical guests as best he could, the night manager summoned four more security personnel. The search team then rushed clown to the hotel laundry room, on the theory that the teddy bear had last been seen asleep in bed and may have been thrown out with the sheets.

With close to the thousand beds in the hotel, this was not an easy chore. But after a grueling two-hour search through mountains of sheets in the laundry room, the team managed to unearth the missing teddy bear, In a touching scene, bear and guest were reunited.

"I found a theft report the next morning when I turned up for work" the hotelier continued. "I called on the guest to check if he was all right. He insisted on meeting me in the lobby to thank me personally for rescuing his teddy bear. In the lobby lounge then. He blubbered his thanks, fetchingly clad in a tank top and the tightest pair of leather hot pants I've ever seen. I assured the poor man that teddy bear rescues are just part of a hotel manager's job."

A very different kind of guest appears in "The Case of the irate German". This portly gentleman, a VIP guest of the 5-star hotel, stormed into the manager's office to complain that the hotel staff had stolen from his room 3,000 Deutsche Marks and a gold Omega watch. Since he was alone in his room, only the thieving hotel staff could be responsible. In a mounting tirade, the guest raged that this was the first time that this kind of thing had ever happened to him, that he will go home and tell the German press about this, that he will warn all his friends to stay away from this lousy hotel, that this is bad for Thailand's image, that he will sue, that the hotel hires criminal staff, that the manager knows nothing about the hotel business, that the security staff should be fired. The Guest was not in a good mood.

The manager kept his cool and assured the guest that he would conduct a thorough investigation. In high dudgeon, the guest flew back to Germany. He returned to the Bangkok hotel two weeks later. The manager cordially invited him into his office.

"I'm happy to inform you that the investigation is complete," the manager reported

"Now you're sure you remember everything about the night of the theft?"

"Of course!"

"And you were alone in your room?"

"I told you I was! How dare you question me?"

"Well, I'd like to show a video tape, if I may. You see, Our hotel has a closed circuit television system. The hotel security manager has located a tape of you on the night of the theft. It seems you had been drinking rather heavily and entered the hotel lobby in the company of young women whose dress code reflected their profession. They left two hours later,"

The guest's face turned a bright shade of red. He apologized to manager and has been a faithful guest of the hotel ever since.

"The moral of this story." concludes the hotel manager. "Is that the hotel business requires a certain amount of cool."

(Courtesy of  http://www.ultimate-thailand.com/BigChilli/Hotel.html)