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Sanibel Police Undercover County-Wide 'Carnie' Operation

NCJ Number
Florida Police Chief Volume: 11 Issue: 1 Dated: (January 1985) Pages: 69-75,77-81
W Hinz
Date Published
12 pages
The discovery of an organized effort to steal money, credit cards, and valuables from motel rooms on Sanibel Island, Fla., has led to the compilation of the methods of operation of these burglars and of security measures that tourists, motel managers, and security personnel should take.
In September 1984, a report of a motel room burglary prompted an investigation which led to the discovery of a nationwide ring of 200 people, primarily in the carnival business, who specialized in duplicating motel room keys used to burglarize the rooms when the guests were at the pool or on the beach. Groups within the ring traded keys to take turns burglarizing in different areas. They also traded credit cards and travelers checks since each group had its specialty. The suspects worked in teams of male and female couples. The suspects drove in and parked in front of motel units, acting just like motel residents. The thieves used the travelers checks and credit cards immediately after the burglaries. Security measures to counter this criminal method of operation should include motel managers' having motel door locks changed periodically and watching for people standing around using suspicious gestures. Motel guests should never leave valuables in a room or a car trunk. They should use the safety deposit box at the front desk or the room safe and should not leave a numbered room key lying on a counter. Additional security guidelines are suggested.