Turtle Bay Resort

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Crime at Turtle Bay Resort
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NORTH SHORE OAHU, HAWAII -- I have stayed at Turtle Bay Resort and Hotel in Kahuku, North Shore Oahu, Hawaii. My room has been burglarized in the afternoon hours and my valuable possessions worth around $10,000.00 have been stolen. It was "clean entry - clean exit" type of situation. Rooms have electronic key locks. Maid and towel boy were the only two people in my room in my absence.

Hotel took no responsibility at all for the crime. I was unable to talk to anybody, including hotel manager and vice-manager. Everybody was "unavailable". Incompetent Head of Hotel security [snip] dismissed the crime that occurred under his supervision by stating that "...I misplaced my own possessions and now I am trying to blame it on his Hotel..." In fact, he never visited scene of the crime nor did he process the crime scene just like any other Law Enforcement Officer would. He submitted same lies to the Honolulu Police Department and to the Hotel's insurance Agent. As result, nobody takes my claim seriously. Hotel's Insurance agent told me that "...you should not bring so much stuff with you to the Hotel..."

Now, Nobody will do ANYTHING about my case. My stuff is gone and that is it. When leaving Turtle Bay Resort there was a violent crime committed against a woman attended by two police squad cars and 3 officers. After I posted my complaint on the Net I am receiving emails from people who were victims of crime at Turtle Bay Resort and Hotel, too.

I have filed BBB claim in Hawaii. The claim requires response from the Hotel. Hotel never responded. So much for "professionalism" of Hotel's management...
Learn from negative experiences of other victims of crime. If I were you I would highly reconsider against staying at Turtle Bay Resort & Hotel - the place, that subjects its guests to serious crimes. Don't be a fool. Don't allow yourself to be treated like in a Third World country. If Turtle Bay Resort & Hotel cannot provide you and your family with secure place of stay - than they should not be awarded with your business !!
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User Replies:
Soaring Consumer on 03/11/2009:
If they refused to provide the police with security footage or investigate the theft, then they are liable, especially since their staff's key cards were used to break into the room.

I suggest that you sue them in large claims court.
Anonymous on 03/11/2009:
Did you call the police?
Anonymous on 03/11/2009:
If you have not already done so, file a request for 'activity summaries' with the police agencies having jurisdiction at this hotel. Any department larger than Mayberry's will have # of calls and type of calls in computerized records for addresses they serve. Ask for the same records for another hotel property nearby. It may be just the evidence you need to support a claim that the hotel is not diligent in protecting its guests or their property.
MRM on 03/11/2009:
Not to side with the hotel, but you should not have brought all those valuables with you while traveling and staying in a hotel.
SLR+ on 03/11/2009:
Was there not a safe in the room?
Suusan B. on 03/11/2009:
Every hotel I have ever stayed at - - no exceptions - - have posted signs at check-in and in the guest rooms (usually behind the entrace door) that they are not responsible for valuables left in the room.
goduke on 03/11/2009:
Hawaii has a $500 limit under the innkeeper liability statute. That's about all your going to get.
MRM on 03/11/2009:
Pardon my curiousity, but I would like to know what were those expensive belongings are?
Anonymous on 03/11/2009:
All due respect, but several courts have said that posted signs don't grant absolute immunity from liability. While innkeeper liability limits exist, they are 'general' in nature. As such, liability statutory limits do not cover willful or knowingly negligent acts by the innkeeper or their staff. Otherwise, hotels could conspire with housekeepers to steal $1000 worth of items and safely limit their liability to $500. The OP must prove the loss could have been prevented if the hotel exercised 'due care' consistent with standards for the hotel industry.
Ben There on 03/11/2009:
Ghost makes a great point that there is more to immunity from liability than having a sign in a room. However, there is the huge problem you have of proving that you actually had 10K worth of something in your room. Granted you might have a receipt for a Rolex or something like that, but as you did not declare it to the hotel and keep it in the hotel's safe you will have to perform a miracle in court to prove it was in the room.
Joe 222 on 03/11/2009:
Thank you for all those comments. You ask lots of questions. I will try to go down the list to explain them, to answer them, as well as submit more details about the burglary....

Soaring Consumer: Hotel wanted the Hotel's security to investigate the burglary. I refused their offer and requested that they call Police. They did comply and called Police. However, hotel security was somewhat involved.

Little Yaya: Yes, I filed Police report with Honolulu Police Department. I have a case number for the burglary.

JustCuz: Police was called and Police report was filed. Hotel sent in a low ranked security guard to be present with HPD officer visiting in my room. No finger prints or pictures were taken. Next day, Hotel security person downloaded information from the elec. door lock from our door. They refused to inform me about the entries to my room during my absence. Also, immediately after the burglary was discovered, I asked Hotel Security to contact the Maid and the Towel boy. Hotel Security refused, saying they have their "...own methods of investigation..." and, besides, maid is a long time employee and they trust her. Hotel will always stay on her side.

I am posting my case in a bridged version. I am sorry you find my case hard to believe. My experience obviously differs from yours.

That said: you are dead wrong. I didn't just walk away from $10k loss. I did all I could before I had to depart the Island for mainland as my allotted time was nearing its end. My hotel expired in two days, my car rental was ending in two days and also my return plane ticket dictated my return to the mainland.

I printed 50 flyers and posted them on the North Shore Oahu, from Turtle
Bay Resort (east end) all the way to Waimea/Haleiwa (west end). These flyers were also posted in “Food-Land” the only supermarket on Kamehameha Road, in Ted’s Bakery, a famous hang-out place for locals - and Chevron gas station, the only 24 hour gas station on North Shore.

My situation could be compared to an episode of Twilight Zone. Hotel completely ignored me. None of the employees knew about it. Head of Hotel Security, Mr.Dongher never came to the crime scene to investigate. I accidentally bumped into him at 4AM in the lobby of the Hotel when Police was investigating a violent attack against a woman. I approached him with my case. He just said "...it never happens at this Hotel...All points towards you...you misplaced your equipment and now you want to blame Hotel for it...". End of discussion. I asked him if he can beef up security on our floor. He refused. In fact, he said: "...Turtle Bay Hotel CANNOT and WILL NOT guarantee your security while at the Hotel..."

I tried to contact our maid. Unfortunately, she didn’t show up for work the next day, and until we departed the Island.

I called hotel manager Mr.Boyle and the vice-manager Mr. Cross 2 times each. I left messages. No answers. I sent them registered emails - the failed to certify their reception. I send them registered letters / return receipt required. Mr. Cross signed for the letter but never responded. Mr. Boyle refused to accept my letter which was subsequently returned to me as "undeliverable". I filed BBB Hawaii complaint - to which Hotel failed to respond. Their response time was extended to March 9, 2009 and they failed to respond again. I filed BBB Houston complaint (Hotel is managed by Benchmark Hospitality International, based in Houston), but the complaint was rejected based on the fact that this case requires an attorney.

I filed missing equipment report with Nikon USA . Should anybody approach Nikon to calibrate, repair, or upgrade any of the stolen equipment, it will be confiscated and Police notified.

I approached retired judge in California to advised me as to how to proceed in this case. He basically told me: it is You against the Hotel. Unless you can prove that "this person" committed the crime, you have little chance of succeeding. You will probably have to take a loss. Tell all your friends about this, post your case on the WEB for others to see, and never patronize this Hotel again.

It is extremely difficult to pursue this case from 3,500 miles away, especially, when you get no communication from anybody on the other side. Hotel management is non responsive in any way, shape of form. If it was in my place of residence, I would take them to court right away. But I cannot afford to fly to Hawaii every time court needs me of to hire attorney in Hawaii. I would probably double my losses.

I phoned my detective couple of times. He tells me that there is really nothing they can do. They have more serious cases than mine. Besides, chances for recovery of my stolen possessions is either slim, or none.

Hotel insurance agent called me, but his knowledge of the crime was based on misleading version of Mr.Dongher, the Head of Hotel's security, who was attempting to discredit me from the very beginning. Besides, maximum pay out (inkeeppers liability law) would be only $500.00.

SLR: yes, there was a small safe in the room. However, the stolen equipment would not fit that safe, anyway...

Suuusan B: yea, there is such a sign. (I didn't notice one in this instance - but I know from my extensive travels that every Hotel has one. I do not deny its presence there..). However, it is not an invitation for people who work there to steal.

GoDuke: You are correct. Maximum "inkeeppers" liability is only $500.00. Question: have you ever seen a tourist, going to Hawaii, who has less than $500.00 in his luggage ? My empty luggage costs $500.00. Please, remember that Turtle Bay Resort and Hotel is not a cheap place at all: room begin at $330.00 and go up to $2.000.00 a night. Therefore, people who visit this Hotel do not exactly travel on shoe string budged. Please be advised that Hotel of his caliber (800 rooms), like Turtle Bay Resort wants us believe it is, has NO security cameras on individual floors. There is only camera is in the reception recording visitors at check-in and check-outs. Not every visitor knows about it - but employees are fully aware of this fact. Moreover, receptionists were never notified about the burglary so they can watch (suspicious) people walking through the lobby with camera equipment resembling mine. In any case, Security in this kind of Hotels is not only implied but is required.

MRM: I am a photographer. I follow and shoot ASP World Cup of Surfing. The stolen equipment was a high end professional camera ( $5K ), high end professional telephoto lens ( $5K ) and list of small accessories ( about $900.00 ). All mounted together.

There were other expensive items in the room that were left untouched by the thief. For example: 2 high end Apple laptops, score of other high end lenses, other small cameras + many other personal possessions including credit cards and money...

Ghost of Doc J: Very good comment. This was brought up several times before, too.

I feel it is my duty, as a victim of crime, to share my experience with others, so people like You, and You, and You - are aware of the crime that takes place at Turtle Bay Resort and Hotel. I have never stopped pursuing this case. Hotels that lure in visitors from miles away and then leave them unprotected exposing them to serious crimes - should not be patronized.

And on personal note: I am a business owner myself. If any of my employees treats my customers in time of crises the way Mr.Dongher, the Head of Security for Turtle Bay Resort treated me - than he would be looking for new employment as we speak !

Anonymous on 03/12/2009:
Joe222, thank you for taking the time to explain more of the details. It sounds like you have definitely done your due diligence in this case. I hope you'll come back and let us know if this ever gets resolved. Good luck!
Anonymous on 03/12/2009:
Keep at them, Joe222. I think you accomplished a lot in your rebuttal of the site's naysayers who chided you for taking 'too much' in the way of valuables on your trip (or doubted it was possible). Such may be true for those accustomed to vacations in Gary, Indiana or when staying in a Super 8, but it does not represent reality for everyone. Good luck, my friend!
Joe 222 on 04/29/2009:
MRM: I am a photographer. The stolen properties were: one of my high-end Nikon cameras, high-end Nikon telephoto lens, teleconveter, 16 gb extreme memory card and few other accessories - all mounted together.

Update: In a boldest move of them all, Mr. Dongher, the Head of Security for Turtle Bay Resort submitted letter to BBB saying that my pure intentions are to "defame" the Resort. He also appears to operate under impression that my pure intentions are to elicit money from the Resort - which is very wrong. He proceeds with requesting BBB to "close" this case and not to investigate any further. Fortunately, Mr.Dongher is not in a position to decide whether the Resort, or he, should be investigated or not.

On April 14, 2009, I received phone call from Mr. Boyle, the manager for Turtle Bay Resort, offering me $500.00 to go away. I refused his "offer". This case is not about money. This case is about those who broke the Law and those cowards who are covering up for them. My pure intentions pursuing this case are to bring those responsible for the burglary to justice. Until they are prosecuted - no tourist will be save at Turtle Bay Resort.

I am sending letter to DA / Hawaii and to Lt.Governor. I will keep you posted as this case develops.

Thank you all for you time to read this post.
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