By Peter D'Oench

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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – A South Beach hotel employee is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a couple who was staying at the hotel.

Don Lobay, a tourist from Canada, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “You put your trust in the place you are staying at. We travel around the states and the Caribbean and you trust in the facility where you are at. So this is not good.”

“Oh Gosh, we are from Canada and we are pretty honest, not that you aren’t. But this is not the type of thing that should happen to you when you are on vacation.”

It happened Sunday, January 28, at the South Beach Plaza Villas at 14th Street and Collins Avenue.

The couple put $6,000 in cash in an envelope and then secured it in their room safe.

They left the hotel around 6 a.m. and told Ihosvany Napoles, who was working the front desk, that they were off for a day trip to Orlando.

When they returned to the hotel around midnight, they found their room safe door open and the money was gone.

The police were called. Security cameras captured Napoles leaving the front desk and walking down the front hallway. A short time later, he returned.

A check of the hotel’s key lock system showed that someone in the timeframe used a master key to enter the couple’s room. During that same timeframe, the safe opening record report said someone used a handheld override to open the safe in the couple’s room.

Miami Beach police said Napoles was the only hotel employee working at that time and the hotel has only one safe override machine – and it is kept at the front desk.

Napoles, 44, was arrested and charged with burglary and theft of personal property by a hotel employee.

Circuit Judge Mindy Glazer found probable cause for the charges and set bond at $10,000.

Police say Napoles had been working at the hotel since last April as a nighttime auditor on the night shift, working from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

A manager at the hotel said nothing like this had ever happened before and she said she did not want to comment further since the case was being investigated.

Cleo Rossi, a frequent guest at the hotel, said he was surprised by the allegations.

“I always put my money in the safe here and I always trust in the hotel,” said Rossi. “I have been here quite a few times. I come here from California about four times a year. Every time I have been here it has always been safe and I have never had any problems.”


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