Myrtle Beach hotel changes policy after burglary

akelley@thesunnews.comSeptember 13, 2013 

Wave Rider Resort at 1600 S. Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach

Wave Rider Resort at 1600 S. Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach

— A Myrtle Beach hotel has a new policy following a burglary that occurred when a group of customers’ spare room key was handed to anther person.

According to a police report, four people staying at the Wave Rider Resort at 1600 S. Ocean Blvd. returned to their room about noon Sept. 6 to find cash and a handgun missing. They later learned a woman who claimed she had been locked out of the room requested, and was given, a key from the front desk.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for Autumn Lea Durham, 25, of Myrtle Beach in connection with the burglary, said Capt. David Knipes with Myrtle Beach police.

Greg Williams, property manager for Myrtle Beach Rooms for Rent, which manages some rooms at the hotel, said as a result of the incident only the person who’s license is on file will be able to get an additional room key. The hotel already makes a copy of a driver’s license for the person registered for the room reservation, he said.

The new policy isn’t enough for Ashley Rudisill, one of the four victims. Rudisill said she was vacationing with her husband, 22-month-old daughter, her sister and her sister’s boyfriend when the burglary occurred.

“You can imagine it ruined my whole vacation,” she said.

She said she wants the hotel to bear responsibility for the burglary and pay the family the $360 stolen plus $450 to cover the cost of the gun.

“Because of the negligence of this employee I was robbed,” she said. “It wasn’t my fault. They can try to make it right as far as compensating me for what was taken from me and replacing all that was taken from me. I feel that’s only fair.”

The room in question is privately owned and rented out, but the property management has a key, Williams said.

According to the incident report, the clerk asked Durham who owned the room and she gave the correct name of the owner.

The victims spoke with Durham and an unidentified male suspect while at the hotel on Sept. 5 and Sept. 6, apparently thinking the couple were guests of the hotel, according to the police report.

Rudisill said the clerk should have asked more questions of the woman, or should have gone to the room with her, instead of handing out the key.

Rudisill, from North Carolina, isn’t sure if her family will be returning to the beach. She said they only made it to the ocean once for about an hour before the burglary.

Williams said guests being locked out of rooms happens frequently.

“She was in a bathing suit and towel which made it seem that much more credible,” he said. “I was surprised at how calm, collected and cool she was. She stood at the front office here for probably three minutes with other guests standing here. We have about six cameras [in that area] and the cameras didn’t faze her at all.”

He expects some backlash for the policy change

“Unfortunately what’s going to happen is we’re going to have a whole lot of complaints from guests,” he said. “People are going to get mad at us and go online and write negative reviews. But, at this point, you try to do the right thing and try to help your fellow person. Unfortunately, there’s bad people out there that know that and play upon your goodness.”

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.

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