Image: Dalton Police Dept.

The Dalton Police Department is asking for the public’s help to identify a man who has been more than a nuisance at some area hotels, eating free breakfasts from buffets and also sneaking into open rooms.

When confronted, police say the suspect told a staff member at one hotel that he was “checking to see how easy it is to get into hotels and get free stuff.”

Staff members say the suspect has stolen several items from hotels in addition to the free food.

“He was just trying to see what he could get away with and what he could get for free,” said Cecy Lagunas, a manager at Holiday Inn, where the man went first.

It also put him on the police department’s radar.

“I’ve had to kick a lot of people out trying to have a free breakfast,” Lagunas said.

She got really suspicious when the man came to this bar and did not sit down to eat.

“What he did was just picked out a few items and then head to the elevator,” she said.

Lagunas said hotel staff watched the man on surviellance wandering around the hotel.

They confronted him and made him leave when they found out he wasn’t a guest.

Then police say it was another day, another hotel. The next day, going next door to the Quality Inn and Super 8.

“They felt like they had handled it by confronting the gentleman,” said Dalton assistant police chief Chris Crossen.

“When he returned, they got us involved.”

Officers got involved after the man stole silverware, and even snuck into rooms while they were being cleaned, swiping towels and shampoo.

“They gave us a description of him, a description of a vehicle he got into and gave us some information we can follow up on,” Crossen said.

Police are still searching for the man.

Lagunas said a few free hotel items aren’t worth fighting for.

“We did what we could without putting ourselves in risk and danger and I wouldn’t have done it another way,” she said.

The suspect, a man with a thick dark beard and wearing a ball cap, first visited the Holiday Inn Express on College Drive on August 25th and began eating at the breakfast bar. After his stolen free meal, the suspect then began walking around the hotel. Staff noticed him on surveillance cameras wandering around aimlessly. When they confronted him about not being a guest and asked him to leave, the suspect said, “I am just checking to see how easy it is to get into hotels and get free stuff.”

The next day, police say the suspect showed up at the neighboring Quality Inn and snuck into a room with an unknown woman that had been left open while in the process of being cleaned. The suspect was inside the room for more than an hour before staff confronted him and told him to leave. Police say he returned the next day, asking for an item of property he left behind in the room, but he fled when he was told by hotel staff they were calling police. He was gone before officers could arrive.

Staff at the hotels told an investigating officer the suspect has stolen silverware from the breakfast bars (in addition to free meals), and also towels. The staff also believe he was involved with several other thefts at hotels in the area.

Anyone who recognizes the suspect is asked to please contact Officer Ben Porter at 706-278-9085, extension 9579 or by email at bporter@cityofdalton-ga.gov.

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