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Video gone viral: Hotel guest claims maid rummaged through his stuff

Lessons learned from viral video of what one hotel guest says happened when he was out of the room

Vince Stravix's YouTube video of what he says shows a hotel maid rummaging through his belongings and trying to sign on to his mobile devices has gone viral, reaching more than 1.5 million views since it was posted Saturday. My two-word response to the video: hotel safe.

"I was staying at a brand-[name] hotel and I kept all of my items laid out in my room. Not anymore though..." Stravix wrote on his YouTube post. I'm not blaming the victim here (and technically there is no victim because nothing was stolen), but who leaves electronics out when they leave their hotel room?

Thieves are a small percentage of hotel employees, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take steps to keep your stuff safe. Most "brand-name hotels" have in-room electronic safes specifically for that purpose. They're bigger these days and can fit a laptop, camera or other devices.

If not, ask the hotel's front desk to lock up your valuables -- and that includes things like your passport too.

Travel Editor Catharine Hamm earlier wrote about a hotel guest who suspected a hotel butler stole $35,000 of her jewelry and clothing. With such high-priced items, security experts recommend securing them in a "trunk with a good lock and perhaps a cable wrapped around it and secured to an immovable object."

The bottom line is there's no foolproof way to thwart criminals from stealing things in your room. It could be the maid or the butler, or it could be a passing crook who dashes in while housekeeping is in the room and poses as the guest to make off with stuff.

But when it comes to cellphones and other mobile devices, the in-room safe should be the first line of defense. It's easier than setting up a video to try and catch the maid in the act.

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