Monday, February 12, 2007

Man attacked in the Argent, aka the Westin

A Nobel Peace Prize winner was accosted in an elevator at the Argent Hotel, forced out and dragged down a hallway toward his attacker's room.

The attacker then fled and the victim, Holocaust author Elie Wiesel, returned to the lobby and summoned the police. The attacker appears to be a fervent Holocaust denier who later posted an account of the attack online. This is all according to a Saturday story in the Chron.

These sorts of stories can be tough for the image of the hotels involved, particularly larger properties who try to provide extensive security for guests. The Embarcadero Hyatt Regency got caught up in a similar situation in 2003 when a woman was raped there.

It's not clear whether additional security would have helped in this case or not. The article states that the attacker first became aggressive at the lobby level, where he entered the elevator in pursuit of Wiesel, but Wiesel remained in the elevator and it's not clear if there was shouting or a physical struggle.

There was definitely a struggle on floor six, when the assailant dragged Wiesel out of the elevator, but the assailant was sufficiently concerned about something, possibly about being caught, that he quickly abandoned his attack.

In the case of the Hyatt, the assailant talked his way into the victim's room, where the attack unfolded. It was not clear how he gained access to the hotel, or if he was a guest. Obviously, a non guest should not have had access to the floor. The hotel was sufficiently rattled that it vowed to beef up security, particularly around entrances.

The Argent is set to become a Westin in the next month or two.



Post a Comment

<< Home