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Old 07-23-2012, 10:35 PM
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Default gun left behind in hotel room vault

So, it wasn't mine because I'm such a xenophobe it is hard for me to leave the house - a good friend of mine was traveling back this way and left his S&W 1911PD Gunsite edition in a hotel room vault. I'm sick about it because he was going to trade it to me for something smaller.

What is his best course of action? What did the hotel likely do? I assume it would either be absconded by the finder or turned over to law enforcement by hotel staff?

Seeing as how it would cost significantly to retrieve it and I doubt the authorities would be willing to do anything other than have him pick it up in person with bill of sale/proof of ownership, should he kiss it goodbye?

It is his loss, not mine. But I was so looking forward to another S&W...
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Old 07-23-2012, 10:41 PM
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The hotel may just still have it in their vault. I'd check there first. Then if it was properly turned in to Law Enforcement, they'd most likely still have it unless it's been an excessive amount of time and it's been "disposed" of or "property converted". My agency, given enough time and no proof of ownership, can convert guns to their property for issue as long as they are guns that are consistent with approved duty guns. If they still have it, the owner can show proof of ownership, then an agency can ship to another FFL and he could most likely get it that way. If he can't show it via ATF purchase records, receipts, etc, then most likely it's the one that got away. Has he even called the hotel to start the process?
(nothing official in this post - all just ideas and speculation on my part)
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Old 07-23-2012, 10:47 PM
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Unless there is some reason he shouldn't have had it there, I'd say he should do what he would do with any other article left behind in a hotel room: call the hotel. If it's gone, it's gone. But it could be the hotel is sitting there wondering what to do with it. A good hotel is in the business of making its guests happy.

At least give them the chance, and proceed one step at a time from there.
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:01 PM
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If it is not still in the hotel safe, or turned over to the local police, then I would call the local police and report it stolen.
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:01 PM
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I would think the motel manager might be a little worried thinking the guy might well be a LEO passing through and would be scared to get rid of it or steal it. They had to know who rented the room and when. If your friend put his real name and adress on the regester I am surprised they havent called him. If this is over two days ago it would raise a question to me or anyone else why he hasnt been back to get it!
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:03 PM
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This is a good reason not to carry an undocumented gun on a trip. I know some of us like "unpapered" guns for various reasons, but these aren't the ones to carry out of town. When on the road and legally carrying it's a good idea to have a receipt (or copy of) from an FFL for your carry piece. There are some departments that will not honor a CCW without proof of ownership. Right or wrong, it happens in some areas and proof of ownership will help keep the problems down. If I stop someone and he has a CCW and his piece doesn't hit on NCIC he's free to go. (unless it's something I want and we can strike a deal). It's not like that everywhere. Larger cities seem to be more problematic but it can happen anywhere. As far as your friends problem, he might get it back and he might not. If the room safe wasn't checked the next tenant might have a new gun. The cleanup crew might palm it, or it might get turned in and returned to the original owner. Regardless, if I didn't get my gun back and I had the serial number (I hope he did) I would report it stolen and have it entered on NCIC. It may show up one day.
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:14 PM
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Number one, never use hotel safes. Number two, carry your own locking pistol safe.

I've worked on these room safes before. You can set your own combination but there is an override key that they don't tell you about. How do you think they get the safe open after you leave?

There is a good posibility that it's still there. The safes are not always checked because most people don't use them.
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:16 PM
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Thanks everyone for the prompt replies. They reflect the advice I initially gave him. He had just noticed it missing today when I called him and was going to contact the hotel first and then the authorities, if necessary. He is the lawful owner, has documentation and is a multi-state CCW.

Brings up a very good point of carrying a copy of a receipt when traveling for just such a purpose. I have all mine in a database with photographs and have a computer with me nearly all the time. I'm thinking that I should scan all my receipts and save them in the database as well.

Like I said, I don't travel much anymore. But even when I did, those in-room vaults always made me nervous. Found a dildo in one once too. Kinda gross.
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kanewpadle View Post
Number one, never use hotel safes. Number two, carry your own locking pistol safe.

I've worked on these room safes before. You can set your own combination but there is an override key that they don't tell you about. How do you think they get the safe open after you leave?

There is a good posibility that it's still there. The safes are not always checked because most people don't use them.
You were posting as I was typing! Yes, rule #1 and he wouldn't be pistol-less currently!
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertFox View Post
He had just noticed it missing today when I called him
Yikes, I have a panic attack when I can't account for my carry piece momentarily. Joe
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlie sherrill View Post
If I stop someone and he has a CCW and his piece doesn't hit on NCIC he's free to go.
In Georgia, an officer would be exceeding his authority by running a legal GWL holder's carry piece on NCIC without reasonable suspicion. Georgia courts have ruled that mere possession of a firearm doesn't qualify as reasonable suspicion. A Georgia LEO has no more right to run my Model 60's numbers just as a matter of course than he would my Rolex watch (if I owned one) just because "it might be stolen."

I assume Mississippi law is different.

Caselaw on GeorgiaPacking.org, THE STATE v. JONES, 289 Ga. App. 176 (2008)
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightowl View Post
If it is not still in the hotel safe, or turned over to the local police, then I would call the local police and report it stolen.
This...

Call the hotel and ask if they found it. If they don't have it, report it stolen with the police.

His homeowner's insurance might have some coverage for lost/stolen guns... Likely not if he didn't add that option to the policy.

Next trip, tell him to take a locking gun box which can be cabled to something large and/or solid. Piece of mind and a smidge more secure. I use one like this when I need to secure a handgun in a vehicle or have to go out with the handgun left alone in the room.

Lock Box

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Old 07-24-2012, 05:13 AM
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Charlie, thank you for the warning about Mississippi. I'll make sure that it is passed on to the two main CCW web sites in Ohio. The idea that in some areas of Mississippi their firearm will be considered stolen until they can prove otherwise will catch a few by surprise. In Ohio if a LEO inappropriately (no charges filed) retains an individuals firearm the Department must reimburse the individual for charges incurred in getting their property returned.
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:13 AM
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I cannot provide bill of sales for 90% of my handguns since they came from my father.

What does one do when he did not purchase the gun and must prove owership?
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:57 AM
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I had a friend who did that. He had no problem getting it back, other than he had to drive back to another state to retrieve it, as the hotel would not take it to an FFL to ship to his FFL.
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:32 AM
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Default Irresponsible gun owner?

Though I applaud the owner of the gun for securing it in the in-room safe, I am mystified just how he possibly forget it. Moreover, I am absolutely baffled why there is any question(s) about what he should do to recover the gun.

My obvious first step would be to CALL the hotel, ask for the "Manager on Duty" (M.O.D.: all hotels have one) and advise the M.O.D. what had happened. Immediate steps could then be taken to safeguard the weapon until the owner retrieves it or makes arrangements to have it secured/returned.

Spoke with several friends in the hospitality industry. Uniformly, they advised me that housekeepers routinely check the safe when prepping the room for the next guest. They don't have access but would advise security.

That's for two (2) very obvious reasons: they don't want any contraband or other undesirable stuff in their building and want to safeguard any valuables secured in the safe.

Yes, they advised; folks do sometimes forget.

Personally I stay in hotels 100+ nights/year. Just last month I was in Miami Beach and used the in-room safe most of my stay. I have used such safes hundreds of times over the years and have never experienced a loss. Whilst in Miami Beach I used it to store my 642 when at the beach, the pool, and at the Miami Marlins game.

I am a bit overzealous in packing to leave any hotel and double check all drawers, the closet, and, of course, the safe.

I once left a pair of Crocs on the balcony but surely never forgot my gun!
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pharmer View Post
Yikes, I have a panic attack when I can't account for my carry piece momentarily. Joe
THIS^^^^^^^^^^^
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:00 PM
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I have done a bit of traveling and taking a pistol where legal with me)

The only time the gun is in the room is when I'm in there also, when I go out the gun goes with me.

I did this little trick for years and read a few years back that Massad Ayoob said he did the same thing so as no way to forget your pistol.
The pistol is in or on top of my shoes right next to the bed where if necessary I can grab it. If you leave it with your shoes no way not to take it.

PS those little safes are like cracker jack boxes, not to be trusted!
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:54 PM
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Just wondering if anyone who would be irresponsible enough to leave a gun in a safe should be handling firearms in the first place. If my kids had left a gun behind they would have been going without it for some time. But perhaps we expect more from our kids. Ranks right up there just below people who "forgot" to remove their gun from their check-on luggage at an airport.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:15 PM
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Well, did he get it back?? Don't keep us in suspense!!
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:34 PM
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Default outcome - positive!

Sorry for the delay as I've been doing heli ops and hadn't heard back on the outcome. My colleague was able to get back both items left - S&W 1911PD and passport. Both were still right where he had left them. I doubt he'll use the stupid "room vaults" ever again and I scolded him for not having his piece and passport in his shoes. Now, time to trade for the S&W so that he'll never have the opportunity to misplace THAT one ever again as it will be in MY vault...

I agree that if any of my pieces went missing, I'd be a mess, in need of Xanax and Prozac treatment, until it resurfaced.

Many moons ago when I had only one handgun and I rented, I wouldn't even leave it at my apartment. It went with me everywhere, even if it was just in a funny-pack.

Last edited by DesertFox; 07-26-2012 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 07-26-2012, 04:13 PM
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That fella needs to buy himself a lotto ticket.

Glad things worked out for him.

Regards,

Dave
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:37 PM
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Just love a happy ending!!!

Now, wish LEO's could find the 1911Sc of mine that was stolen 2 years ago.

Randy
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