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A woman visiting California on business filmed someone trying to open her airport hotel room door from the outside using a clever but scary device. Fortunately, she was awake, not fast asleep or in the shower and she was able to prevent the criminals from entering. She also captured the terrifying experience on video. RELATED: A Former CIA Officer and FBI Agent’s Travel Safety Tips and the Item She Says Can Provide an Added Sense of Security When You’re Sleeping

This incident took place a few months ago in San Jose at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites San Jose Airport Hotel. Robert Handa from NBC Bay Area interviewed Debra, the victim, to get more details. Debra said it looked almost like a coat hanger coming up from under the door but it had several pieces attached to it. “I then saw they were actually trying to move it over and reach for the door handle and that’s when I just tried to stop it with my hand,” she says. Watch the video below:

YouTube video

According to Robert, while preventing the device from getting to the door handle with one hand, Debra called down to the front desk with the other. “Hotel workers came to help and confronted a man and a woman. The same man and woman, Debra had seen through her peephole knocking on her door earlier. She ignored it.”

Debra later says the couple claimed they were looking for a friend and they had knocked on the wrong door. Unfortunately, the duo were able to get away before police arrived. Debra thinks they picked her room because it was at the end of the hall. 

Debra says if this happens to you, don’t panic. Just stop their attempt and reach out for help. It’s amazing how calm and clearheaded she remained during the incident. Instead of pulling the device from their hands or screaming, she acted calmly and rationally.

The device turned out to be something many hotels have in case they need to get into a hotel room for, say, a wellness check or if someone gets locked out. The latter happened to me once, when the safety lock somehow closed when I shut the door. The hotel security guard was able to get it open quickly, which is why you can’t rely on the hotel’s safety lock and travelers should bring their own.

I wrote a tip recently about a former CIA officer and FBI agent’s travel safety tips and the devices she recommends to provide an added sense of security when you’re sleeping.

One of her suggestions is the $5 rubber door stopper pictured above, which is a great, lightweight and inexpensive thing to always keep in your bag and can be used to prevent your door from being opened from the outside.

Security gadgets like the Sabre door handle alarm and Sabre portable door lock, a travel-friendly door lock for hinged doors, are other options to consider. See the video below to see how quick and easy thieves can get into your room.


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1 Comment On "Caution: Criminals in California Use Insider Device to Break Into Hotel Rooms - Here's How to Protect Yourself"
  1. Andy Seitz|

    Instead of a door alarm or extra lock..or rubber stopper, why not just use the in-door chain or door block/stopper they usually have? No need for extra stuff.

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