Hair Replacement
This year was not a stellar rental season for us. We received five bookings rather than the ten to twelve we’ve come to expect each summer. The rental company provided a bunch of excuses for the lack of bookings. Among which were “school let out late due to snow” and the “fourth of July fell on a Saturday so fewer people wanted to travel.” Any way you look at it the overall rental income was less than half of what we typically earn in a season.

To add insult to injury we experienced outright theft for the first time in ten years. When we arrived at the house a number of items were missing from our owners closet and kitchen. A member of the cleaning crew, realty company or one of the guests broke into our locked closet and stole personal items including family heirlooms and electronics.

They also stole three large Pyrex casserole pans with lids, three mixing bowls, three decorative bowls with lids, a Keurig coffee maker, HDMI cables, Blu-ray movies, a photo keepsake box, a video baby monitor, Apple charging cables and a bathroom scale.

They also took brand new band-aids, razors, hair extension,hair replacement, nail polish, first aid related items, thermometers and paper towels.

We’ve never experienced theft like this before. The total for all goods was over $600. The rental company offered us $250 to cover part of our losses, but we’ll need to foot the rest of the bill.

I’m angry that someone took items that didn’t belong to them, but I’m particularly sad that some of those items were gifts from deceased family members that simply cannot be replaced.

My husband and I strive to make this house nice for our guests. We know that many families can only take off a few days each year and provide our guests with all the amenities that make a beach house a home. That includes a kitchen stocked with pots, pans and every other item required to make delicious home cooked meals. It also includes nice bowls to present the food and Pyrex dishes to store the tasty leftovers.

Similarly we keep beach chairs in the car port and swim floats in the pool house. These are available to all of our guests. We hope that renters will use these items and treat them with care. We hope that these items will be available for the first renter of the season and last all the way until the last. If one bad renter breaks things or steals them the rest of our guests will have a less enjoyable stay here. I am disappointed that someone ruined the experience for everyone that followed.

On top of taking the items that were available to everyone, these people took it upon themselves to open a locked closet and take out items that were clearly not intended for guests. We keep special items locked in the owners closet; items that are clearly meant for our use and our use alone.

At first I was angry, but as I reflect on the issue I’m quite sad. Our house rents for $2500 a week in the peak of the season so it seems strange that someone could afford to spend that amount on a rental and then feel the need to steal.

I’m not sure who decided to swipe our stuff, but I hope whoever took it really needed it. The whole thing just makes me sad. Especially for my husband who lost a family memento, which can never be replaced.

5 thoughts on “Stolen!!!”

  1. I hate that this happened to you! I’ve wondered if this is ever a problem for private rentals or even hotels. We were in a Westin last year that had very pretty vases on a shelf in the room and I couldn’t help but wonder why they included that in the decor, knowing people are already stealing towels, robes, etc.

    • Thanks for the comment. As an owner it’s a tough act to balance. We know that things can be taken, but we also want to provide a nice experience for our guests. Hotels and other places expect a few things might be taken here and there, but you hope that the majority of people are good and know not to steal. It comes down to morals. Most people have them a few unfortunately don’t.

  2. That’s awful! We’ve rented houses in OBX for many years, and I can’t imaging stealing kitchen items or breaking into the owners closets (although I do always wonder what is stored in them)! i accidentally took a plastic Tupperware container home from one house, and I felt so bad about it. It was just a small snack holder container but I still felt awful when I discovered it in my diaper bag on the drive home.

    • Thanks for the comment. Most owners store towels, sheets, toothbrushes and other items of that nature. Over the years we’ve added more and more personal touches that we keep up for ourselves in the off season but take down in the summer. That’s why we had family mementos. I’ve actually had quite a few renters replace items for us that broke during their stay. They send me a letter or let the realty company know. One woman broke a measuring cup, (I have no idea how), and replaced it with a note saying she was sorry. I’m happy to say that most renters and guests are like you. They treat houses with care. It’s sad that a few bad seeds wreck it for everyone else.

  3. I am so sad to hear this and didn’t know how it would feel until it happened to us. We have a beach house down by the Gulf in Alabama. We have rented out our house during the summer months for the past four years and use the house during the winter. The items that have previously turned up missing, i.e. teaspoons, pizza cutter, pillow shams, etc. were probably accidentally thrown away or damaged and are a cost of doing business. This year we returned to our house to find that one of the renters here broke into our owners’ closet and stole our digital weather station and our Blu Ray player. We put a locking doorknob on the pantry in the kitchen and use this closet for our personal use during the winter but it also includes batteries, light bulbs, paper products, etc. I am livid that someone who was staying in our home thought it was okay to break into this closet and help themselves. We have now installed a double key dead bolt and it is sad that this was even necessary. We know the time frame the items were stolen, but had too many renters to try to narrow it down. Since our rental company doesn’t do an inventory before and after a renter’s stay, I don’t know what more we can do. I like the suggestion another owner had of posting a sign on the outside of the door saying ‘Nothing in here is as valuable as your damage deposit’. The thing that really surprises me is that it hasn’t happened before. There are dishonest people in the world and eventually you will have one of them as your renter.


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