Valley hotel room hackers steal thousands of dollars from guests

TEMPE, AZ - Hotel room hackers have hit the Valley and now police agencies are working together to try and find the culprit or culprits who have stolen items from hotel guests in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe.

"Since all my stuff was cleaned out, I thought I was in the wrong room," said Ahmiel Fried, a pilot who became a victim when staying at a Tempe hotel.

The hackers create an easy-to-make, cheap device that they plug into the electronic doorknob. It obtains the keycard access number and then unlocks the door, according to Tempe police.

The trend started on the East Coast and reached Arizona earlier this year, investigators said.

The company that makes the locks, Onity, did not return calls to ABC15 as of late Tuesday night, but police said the company has created a software upgrade as well as manufactured "caps" to prevent the device from being plugged into the lock.

Fried said the thief stole his wallet, laptop, iPad, clothes and suitcase.

The hotel would not refund him for his stolen items either, he told ABC15, because it was a third-party who illegally gained access to the room, not a member of the hotel staff.

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