The scam was straightforward and brilliant in its simplicity. A 30-year-old Orlando area homeless man is in the Orange County Jail facing a charge of grand theft.
WFTV reports that according to court papers, David Price is alleged to have gone to several Orlando and Disney World hotels. After he arrived at a hotel he would hang around until he saw a guest check out. After the guest left, Price would manage to sneak into the just vacated room.
Once inside the room he would call the front desk, pretending to be the legitimate guest. He would say that he changed his mind and would like to stay a few days longer. After the hotel agreed to extend the stay, Price would go on a spending spree in the hotel, using the previous legitimate guest's credit or debit card still on file.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Price was arrested Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort. The guest who left just happened to be an employee of the hotel and when Price made his call to the front desk asking to stay longer, the clerk knew the occupant of the room and knew he had already gone. Hotel staff entered the room and found items that came from the nearby Peabody Hotel. A call to the Peabody confirmed that it was a scam and they were aware of it.
Price is believed to have perpetrated this scam since 2010. The New York Daily News reports the homeless man is alleged to have put $9,000 on the card of Joseph Barak of Poland, Ohio. Barak, who stayed at Lowe's Portofino Bay Hotel, is quoted as saying, I don't know how he got in my room, how he got my debit card. But he got like the best wines, the best restaurants, room service. He got clothes and the whole ball of wax.
Barak was compensated for his loss from his credit card company.
According to police, Price pulled this scam in at least half a dozen Orlando area hotels and Disney World investigators are looking into whether this scam has been carried out in any of their properties.