By MOHAMED AHMED
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The Coast is popular with many Kenyans for comfort and pleasant vacations.
Unfortunately, it can happen that your lovely vacation is spoiled by the theft or damage of your personal belongings in the hotel or residence where you stay!
Recently, cases of non-violent break-ins in rooms have been reported in many of the high end hotels in the region especially during the peak season in December, with holiday makers complaining of losing valuables such as electronics, designer clothes and cash.
In fact, the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) says it is aware of the increased crime. Interviews with theft victims, many of whom did not want to be identified, point to well executed and organised crime within the facilities.
And to save their brands, the hotels ask victims not to report the matter to the media as they conduct their own investigations with the help of detectives.
James(not his real name) is one such victim.
He had booked in at the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa in Mombasa in December.
But as the New Year approached, unknown people gained access to his room and stole valuables including laptops, cash and a phone.
“I suspect it was during the fireworks display when they took advantage and opened my room stealing the items,” he told the Nation. James reported the matter to the police but they are yet to arrest any suspects or recover the items.
Police sources revealed that the thieves entered four hotel rooms and stole valuables. The hotel’s General Manager Siddharth Sathe confirmed such a break-in and detectives were still investigating the matter.
Another victim disclosed losing up to Sh100,000 that was kept in a safe inside the room. He is still puzzled by how they accessed the lockable box and made away with cash. Investigations have not yielded much so far.
Mr Sathe told the Nation none of his staff have been implicated in any of the cases.
“All the cases reported are with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations. We also ask visitors to take their personal safety and that of their items into consideration at all times,” Mr Sathe said.
Reviews on American travel website TripAdvisor revealed a series of complaints from holidaymakers, both local and foreign.
Voyager Beach Resort, Sai Rock Beach Hotel and Spa are mentioned as those where theft occurred.
Kenya Tourism Federation chairman Mohammed Hersi said those attending conferences have not been spared either. According to him, robbers scale hotel walls to steal valuables. Those in Bamburi, Diani, Nyali and Malindi-Watamu areas are the most affected areas.
“Most hotels have been forced to employ staff as bystanders to watch out for non-residents,” Mr Heri said.
Last December, three laptops belonging to an assembly clerk assistant and two Nairobi nominated MCAs were stolen from a hotel in Bamburi during lunch break at a conference.
Mombasa police commander Johnston Ipara said hotel management should come up with a mechanism on how to do follow up on the matters which will also involve scrutinising the workers.
“We do not want to make conclusions as the investigations are still on, but when such blunders are reported to us, we will hold the management to account. We will not allow some individuals to tarnish the name of the hotel and the tourism sector as a whole,” said Mr Ipara.
Elsewhere in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare, two Kenyan nationals were arrested last July after they allegedly broke into a hotel room and an apartment and stole property worth more than $44,000.
In the US, Hollywood star Lupita Nyong’o’s dress was stolen from her hotel room in California in 2015. It was later recovered by Los Angeles police. In her case, the burglar(s) used the balcony to steal the dress. The thief threw it off the balcony where someone on the ground was waiting to grab it.