NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) - Hotels across Newport News are stepping up security measures following a string of attempted robberies and robberies.
In just two weeks, four hotels in Newport News and one hotel in Yorktown were targeted by the same man dressed in a black hoodie, dark pants, black shoes, and a mask. In each of these cases, the man entered the lobby with a knife in his hand.
The latest attempted robbery happened at the Comfort Inn on Warwick Blvd. on Saturday, February 11, around 2:30 a.m.
General Manager Amanda Phillips said her hotel is now in the process of installing a key entry system, where only guests with keys can buzz in at night.
“The Newport News Hospitality Association met with the police department and discussed different ways to protect ourselves and our staff, and what police would do to help us out,” she said.
Phillips said her clerks have the ability to lock the front doors with a flip of a switch, and a security guard will be manning the door more often.
“We just had him here on the weekends, but now he'll be here probably 4-5 nights a week.”
Other hotels are also keeping their doors locked at night. The Days Inn on Fishing Point Dr., which was robbed twice, is installing bullet proof glass across the front counters.
“Hotels never carry a lot of money-- none of them carry a lot of money at the front desk, so I think it's somebody desperate,” Phillips said.
In the attempted robbery at Phillip’s hotel, she said the clerk refused to give the robber money.
“She kind of held her ground and told the robber that we didn't have money-- that we drop everything at a certain time at night, so she had nothing to give him. He asked for her purse then, and she denied him that and said that she did not have one-- that she had nothing to give him,” Phillips said.
When he realized she wasn't going to give him anything, he asked where the back door was, and was rather polite about it.
“He told her to have a good night and then ran down the hallway and then out the back door. She said he wasn't aggressive-- he was just wanting money. She said that he told her that he didn't want to hurt her--that he just wanted money,” Phillips said.
Phillips is calling the brave clerk a rock star. She gave her a few days off to relax before she returns to work.