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Robbers strike again at tragic Michaela hotel

RECENT thefts at the hotel where Michaela McAreavey was murdered are chillingly similar to the circumstances that led to her death.

Mauritian police have arrested an employee of the Legends Hotel after he was caught robbing customer's belongings while they were away from their rooms.

Room supervisor Reaz Garib Nayad (38) was charged with "larceny by a person in receipt of wages" yesterday after money was stolen from Indian customers who were about to leave the five-star resort.



Trouble

The CID (Crime Division Department) of Grand Gaube in the north of the island, believe that Nayad gained access to the two rooms with a magnetic card and stole approximately €900 in different currencies, and hid it in a third room.

The hotel called police immediately when alerted of the crime to ensure that their already-tainted reputation wouldn't be further damaged by new robberies.

However, well-informed sources told the Herald yesterday that the resort's reputation was in serious trouble despite their prompt actions.

The circumstances of Thursday's thefts and other criminal incidents which have occurred at the hotel in recent weeks seem shockingly similar to that of the death of Michaela, daughter of Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte.

Although evidence is still being gathered for the murder trial of the 27-year-old bride, the MCIT (Major Crime Investigation Unit) already believe that Michaela and John McAreavey's honeymoon suite was targeted by a crime ring operating within the hotel.

They think that Michaela was strangled on January 10 after thieves gained entry to her room with an electronic card and she caught them stealing money on her return.

"While the outcome of the robberies is different, there are far too many similarities for them to be dismissed as exceptions or coincidences," a source told the Herald.

"This time the criminal(s) waited for their victims to be about to leave the island in the belief that this may prevent them from reporting the small but significant theft to the police.

"Obviously they didn't realise that the hotel didn't want another scandal affecting its already tainted reputation.

"There seems to be a real security problem at the hotel and it appears that [management] have not learnt their lesson after the last tragedy.

The Legends Hotel, which belongs to the Naiade group, released an official statement stating that they would review their recruitment and training processes.

"We decided to act in a very strict manner on cases of fraud or theft," General Manager of Legends, Brice Lunot said.



Honesty

"We have a policy of zero tolerance towards this kind f dishonest practices and our goal is to create a culture based on solid values such as integrity and honesty.

"The theft at Legends is simply unacceptable. It's sad because our people are basically honest people."

A total of 75 thefts from tourists have been recorded in Mauritius since January 2011, including the incident which took place this week at Legends.

Four hotel workers have been arrested in connection with the murder of Michaela.

Additional reporting by Adelina Campos

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