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#1 TammyWright

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 01:28 AM

source: Herald-Coaster

Quote:
A destination wedding disaster - Family and friends lose more than $100,000 to thieves at Mexican resort

By Stephen Palkot Thursday, November 1, 2007 5:34 PM CDT

What started as an idyllic destination wedding last weekend became a nightmare for a Fort Bend County family after more than $100,000 in cash and property was stolen from more than a dozen guests in what looks like an elaborate heist.

Judge Thomas Culver III, who presides over the 240th District Court in Richmond, traveled to Tulum, Mexico, for the wedding of his daughter, Courtney, to Mark Schaefer. They and about 70 others comprised the majority of guests at the Eurostars Blue Hotel, where all went according to plan until Saturday evening.

Tulum is located near what is called the Mexican Riviera, about 60 miles south of Cancun.

Culver said a member of his wedding party first reported the disappearance of belongings from a safe in his hotel room, after the wedding and during the reception. In time, it became apparent that thieves had taken cash and belongings from the room safes of at least 20 people in the wedding party. It seemed the perpetrators knew to conduct the heist during the hours of the wedding, said Culver, and they were able to pull it off without leaving traces of forced entry into either the rooms or the safes themselves.

All told, Culver said about $100,000 in cash and valuables were reported missing by wedding guests.

Culver said he brought the theft to the attention of the hotel's front desk, who were not sympathetic - and when he complained to a regional manager for the hotel, he and dozens of other victimized guests were met with outright hostility.


A report was filed with the police department in Tulum, but Culver said the investigation was hasty and, again, met with hostility.

Culver said the hotel's regional manager threatened him and other complainants with criminal charges for making false claims, and a federal investigator who was called by the manager did not take any action to investigate.

Culver said he and all the wedding guests were able to leave the hotel Sunday morning, earlier than planned, after a Houston-based travel agent was able to seek the assistance of a Mexico-based counterpart. Culver's daughter and son-in-law stayed in Cancun through Wednesday, when they flew home early out of safety concerns.

Culver said his initial concerns were for the safety of himself, his family and wedding guests, but now he would like to see a real examination of the strange events of Saturday evening.

To that end, he has been in contact with the American vice consul who is based in the Mexican town of Merida, and he has even been in contact with former Democratic State Sen. Ken Armbrister, who now works in the office of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Culver said the vice consul in particular should be able to apply some pressure on government officials in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, where Tulum is located.

“Obviously, the first thing that I would hope would happen would be a legitimate investigation into this major crime. This was not an isolated theft from a single room at a cheap hotel. This was a planned, executed, major crime.”

As for the Eurostars Blue hotel, an e-mail inquiry to the Barcelona office of Eurostars, which has 35 hotels according to its Web site, was not returned. Culver said he, too, has not received any responses after contacting the corporate offices.

A Houston-based travel agent said he is looking to enact a “stop-sell” for the hotel, which is a process whereby travel agents are warned not to send travelers there.


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#2 MsShelley

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    Posted 03 November 2007 - 06:33 AM

    OMG! that is so scary!

    #3 beachbride08

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      Posted 03 November 2007 - 09:04 AM

      Holy Cow! I thought putting stuff in the room safes would be the safest place. I'm nervous now.
      Michelle

      #4 Heidi

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        Posted 03 November 2007 - 09:45 AM

        WOW! I guess safes aren't as reliable as we think they are
        Married April 4, 2008 at the Riu Ocho Rios!

        #5 IrieBride08

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          Posted 03 November 2007 - 09:52 AM

          So scary!!! Even scarier because it seems like at least 2 or 3 brides on this forum have reported room thefts during their destinations weddings too. I hope this isn't some kind of sick new trend!!

          #6 starchild

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            Posted 03 November 2007 - 10:14 AM

            I really agree not to bring anything of great value if at all possible. You don't need a laptop or costly jewelry (other than wedding jewelry). Try to keep anything fancy with you at all times. Don't leave currency in the safe and have your man wear a money belt. They are inexpensive and well hidden.

            It sounds silly to go that far, but we have never been robbed at any resort. There is never anything other than clothes/toiletries sitting in our room. The hotel staff aren't getting paid a whole lot of money and if a situation presents itself some people might go for it. That's just the way it is so travel safe :o)

            #7 ~Melissa~

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            Posted 03 November 2007 - 10:22 AM

            Yikes, that's alot of money! We had a safe broken into at the Riu and someone tried to unlock my lock for my laptop. In our case the manager was VERY sympathetic and offerred us different amenities to cal us down. That really sucks for those people. It can be so corrupt.

            Good post tammy.

            #8 JulieG

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              Posted 03 November 2007 - 10:47 AM

              Is it just me or is Mexico going down hill when it comes to crime. I am not sure about you gals in the US, but here in Canada we are constantly hearing about very bad things happening in Mexico. When I mentioned it as a maybe for our DW I had several people tell me they would not come if we did it in Mexico. Its very sad, I hope the government does something soon to fix this or they are in for a rude awakening when it comes to tourists going there.

              #9 rodent

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                Posted 03 November 2007 - 10:56 AM

                Quote:
                Originally Posted by starchild
                I really agree not to bring anything of great value if at all possible. You don't need a laptop or costly jewelry (other than wedding jewelry). Try to keep anything fancy with you at all times. Don't leave currency in the safe and have your man wear a money belt. They are inexpensive and well hidden.

                It sounds silly to go that far, but we have never been robbed at any resort. There is never anything other than clothes/toiletries sitting in our room. The hotel staff aren't getting paid a whole lot of money and if a situation presents itself some people might go for it. That's just the way it is so travel safe :o)
                What do you do when you are out snorkeling or at the pool? Normally when we travel we keep everything valuable with us & use a money belt. But I wouldnt know what to do when we go snorkeling.

                Do you think bringing a lock for your suitcase would help? I will have my camera & a camcorder. I don't know that I will want to keep them on me at all times. I plan on getting extra tapes & memory cards, so I can keep swapping them out during the trip. So if my camera or camcorder gets stolen, I won't loose all the pictures/ videos.

                When I was in mexico before we always left up the do not disturb sign so our room never got cleaned (it was only 3 nights). Then we just called for clean towels.

                #10 starchild

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                  Posted 03 November 2007 - 11:15 AM

                  Swapping memory cards is a great idea! All we travel with is clothes and a camera. As for the camera, we never leave it in the room even if we aren't going to use it. If swimming we take the camera and leave it on our beach chair, as concealed as it can be. Probably not much better but at least it's not totally out of our sight.

                  I guess I feel like if I'm on a boat with 50 other people, we jump off and snorkle, and come back to find my bag/camera is gone I can narrow it down to that group of people rather than anyone at the whole resort. It isn't 100%but I feel the odds of recovery are better with hubby interrogating everyone on the boat rather than dealing with hundreds of possible suspects at a resort.

                  Most people don't get robbed but some people do, we just take what precautions we can just in case. Hubby wears a waterproof moneybelt. Yeah we're geeks....lol




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