Vandal In Waterfront St. Thomas Hotel Parking Lot Wreaking Havoc, Guests Say
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Concerned citizens are warning residents on St. Thomas to be careful when parking your car in the assigned spaces of a popular waterfront hotel.
One person even posted surveillance images of a “suspect” on social media saying that the person in the photo damaged her white SUV in the parking lot of the Windward Passage Hotel on Monday night.
“Afternoon! Anyone recognize this dude?” Toni Huismann said on Facebook. “He was going through vehicles last night and was aggressive enough in mine to break some bits by Windward Passage.”
Huismann posted four photos in the private Facebook group “What’s Actually Going On St. Thomas” on Tuesday morning.
“Apparently he was the same that (unintentionally) broke a couple bits in my Jeep last time rummaging,” she said. “But this time was a ‘WTF that wouldn’t crush by accident’ scenario, so now I’m downright livid. I’m not stupid enough to leave anything of value in an open-air Jeep so whatever, but disrespect my gyal like that? Hunter mode engaged.”
A friend in the Facebook group related a similar experience in the same downtown Charlotte Amalie parking lot.
“I had three windows smashed out on my Jeep and silly things stolen out of it, by Windward Passage about two months ago,” Elise Marie said. “Doesn’t seem to be going well down there for parked cars.”
Legal rights advocates say hotel parking lots are a frequent target for late-night burglars and that hotels typically hang a sign that warns guests “hotel is not liable for loss,”
Some states on the U.S. mainland cap hotel liability for guests who experience loss at $500 typically but not necessarily if the hotel has a history of crime.
“If the hotel is negligent, if they noticed a rash of break-ins and they don’t advise their guests that there’s a rash of break-ins, that’s a problem,” Professional Legal Analyst Steven Kramer said. “Where they’ve got thieves that are breaking into cars on a repeated basis, well I think that probably puts a hotel in the position of being negligent and outweighs any implied notice because that’s what you have when you put a sign up, it’s implied notice.”
Kramer said hotels not telling guests about prior burglaries is bad for business overall.
“It is in the hotel’s interest for many reasons to go ahead and disclose that, one of them being that it puts a guest on notice and let them know to take extra steps,” Kramer said. “It just a common-sense move that any hotel should make. It’s either short-sighted or misguided business tactics. That the cost of installing proper security measures is not outweighed by the risk that it poses to guests in the hotel itself is a liability because you’re not just talking about property here, you’re talking about potentially people getting hurt. And that’s something to take seriously.”