Hotel cleaner nicks diamond ring, cash


A Queenstown hotel cleaner swiped a $4000 diamond ring and hundreds of dollars’ worth of cash of various currencies from guests.

Rebecca Anne McMahon, 54, pleaded guilty to three theft charges at Queenstown District Court last week.

Prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin says McMahon had been working at the unnamed hotel since February last year as a room cleaner – a position that involved “a high degree of trust”.

A number of items of jewellery had gone missing from rooms over the year, and a staff meeting was called to discuss it.

Then in September, guest Jess Stephens was staying at the hotel and left a diamond ring in her room.

McMahon stole the ring when she was cleaning the room.

On December 17, McMahon also stole $US400 and a 50 Euro note from the room of guest Shantanu Garg.

Both guests reported the missing property to hotel management.

And three days later, she took about $US500 from another guest Karan Gupta’s room. He reported the theft to police.

McMahon was interviewed at the Queenstown Police Station on December 22.

Collin says during the interview the officer left the room to take a phone call relating to the matter.

While alone in the room McMahon removed the $US500 and the diamond ring and “stuffed them into a tissue box” in the interview room.

She denied any knowledge of the ring or any of the other thefts before later admitting taking some of the money.

She was charged and bailed to appear in court.

A short time later the interview room was searched and the ring and money were discovered.

Judge Michael Turner asked if her employers had been aware of her history which included dishonesty offences and theft as a servant.

He remanded McMahon on bail to April 28 for sentencing, ordering a pre-sentence report to address home detention, however, that was not to be taken as an indication.

Restorative justice will be assessed.