WELLINGTON, New Zealand – A Canadian family vacationing in New Zealand were counting their losses Monday after staff at their hotel gave a stranger access to their room — where the man made off with valuable possessions and their passports after running up a food and drink tab in their name.
The con man tricked staff at the Quay West Hotel in the northern city of Auckland into letting him into the Black family's room, after apparently pretending he was drunk and had lost his room access key.
Once in the room the intruder took the visitors' money, computer and passports before ordering a meal and drinks in their name, local media reported.
The thief then nipped into the hotel bar for a glass of expensive Drambuie liqueur on the family tab before making off with three stolen bags of loot.
The Black family — Ricky and Evelyn and their children Emily, 12, Olivia, 10, and Andrew, 7, of Montreal — were out at dinner when the man persuaded a hotel receptionist to give him a key to their room.
They believe the con man saw their surname on their baggage tags in the lobby earlier in the day and used that information to get the key.
Evelyn Black said the man went to the desk and appeared to be intoxicated — although the family now believe that may have been part of his con — and was given a room key even though he did not know the room number or even which floor the room was on.
"It just seems like there was so many [security] lapses," said Mrs. Black, who was upset the man was not asked for identification.
Ricky Black said he may have to cancel a 10-day business trip to Asia because his stolen passport included a visa to get into China.
Quay West management would not comment.