Hotels

Guests forced to hide as heritage-listed hotel break-in causes $30,000 in damage

A group of people have caused more than $30,000 worth of damage to a heritage-listed hotel in Kalgoorlie, terrorising guests and causing a woman to hide in a wardrobe.

The owner of the historic Grand Hotel in WA’s Goldfields, Mal Rogerson, told ABC News that a large group began damaging cars outside his property before breaking down the front door to force entry last Thursday night.

“The front doors were smashed down, furniture was smashed, paintings were ripped off walls, door handles were torn off. They kicked the panels in on the car out the back,” Rogerson said.

A few members of the group ran through the hotel and shouted at guests.

Jo Searson, who was staying at the hotel with her husband Tim, told ABC News she was waiting in a communal area at the time the door was smashed in.

“It was just the noise that frightened me. I was trying to turn the lights off in the room that I was in,” she said.

“In the end, I couldn’t find the light, so I got into the cupboard.”

Tim Searson said the man who kicked down the door and was first to run into the hotel was not wearing a shirt, and was acting irrationally before running upstairs to look for Rogerson.

Rogerson said a group of guests tried to control the situation by standing in front of the door.

“But because [the intruders] were charging through the front door and both doors were already smashed down, [the guests] let them through,” he said.

The Grand Hotel was built in 1895, before the first telephone service came to the area.

Image source: The Grand Hotel Kalgoorlie

Rogerson said the front windows of the hotel were all smashed during the break-in and were originals.

“There were kids here, there were ladies here, they were all hiding in wardrobes inside the hotel and everybody was scared,” he said.

Rogerson said he rang the police five times about disturbances in the street in the hours before the incident, and it took half an hour for them to arrive at the hotel once he informed them of the break-in.

However, police told ABC News that two officers were on the scene 11 minutes after the call was made.

Goldfield’s superintendent, Brad Jackson, said police tried to calm the situation instead of making arrests.

“We can always conduct our investigations at a later stage and make the appropriate arrests, and that is the case in this instance,” he said.

“It is an active investigation and we are reviewing the evidence and trying to identify potential offenders.”



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