Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New Jersey: Chinese Visitors Lose Cash, Valuables in Iselin

Two Chinese visitors, both traveling separately, and who had been staying at the Renaissance Woodbridge hotel complex in Iselin (some 40 minutes from Newark Airport), were both victimized on March 31, just hours apart. To make matters worse, neither woman spoke English.

The case of larceny occurred at roughly 0800 hours on Saturday when her luggage was placed into the back of a Toyota van. Inadvertently, she also placed her handbag on top of her luggage. Stepping away briefly from the van, when she returned she was overwhelmed to realize that someone had stolen her handbag, which included $14,000 in cash and Chinese yen, credit cards, her passport, her Chinese photo ID, a mobile phone and a digital camera.

The second incident occurred to the businesswoman who returned to her guest room around 1430, only to discover that two iPads that she had purchased earlier, were missing. Collectively, the two iPads had a value of $1,100.

COMMENT: In the case of the stolen iPads, the victim noted in the police report that her room had been changed from one room to the other and the card key re-programmed. This theft could have been avoided had the victim had the two iPads wrapped in a box at the store from which she had purchased them and simply checked the box with the bellman in the hotel. and obtained a receipt stub. Additionally, I also recommend that guests leave the "do not disturb" on the entry door, to discourage hotel staff from entering their room.

In the case of the handbag stolen from the van, it was seemingly foolish for the traveler to leave her handbag unattended in the van, knowing full well that it contained over $14,000 in cash and difficult-to-replace items such as travel documents.

In my "Safe Foreign Travel" workshops, I always urge travelers to NEVER let their handbag or briefcase containing valuables out of their sight.

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