Kiwi conman had it all on tourists’ expense


Wellington – A cheeky New Zealand conman robbed a family of Canadian tourists and had a meal at their expense after tricking an Auckland hotel receptionist into giving him their room key, news reports said on Monday.

Pretending to be drunk, the man posed as Ricky Black to get the key, ransacked their suite, used his name to eat a meal in the restaurant and signed for a liqueur in the bar before leaving with three bags containing valuables, money and passports.

Black, his wife Evelyn and their three children had left the hotel for dinner on Saturday evening when the conman, who was believed to have seen their name on baggage tags in the lobby earlier in the day, went to the reception desk and said, “I’m Black. Can I have my room key?” the New Zealand Herald reported.

Evelyn Black told the paper that the man was given the key without knowing the room number or even which floor it was on and was not asked for identification.

Bruce Robertson, chief executive of the Hospitality Association, dubbed it a “shocking security blunder” and said the upmarket Quay West Hotel had plenty to answer for.