TODAY   |  July 11, 2013

Thief posing as guest steals thousands from hotel

TODAY’s Willie Geist and Natalie Morales chat about some of the hot topics of the day, including a thief who convinced staff at an exclusive five-star hotel in Hong Kong to give him a spare key to a room from which he stole about $6400 in cash and goods.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

i'm willie geist with natalie morales . al has the morning off. the gang from summer camp . the new show on usa network . cheated. matt had one leg in the game i actually think they let us catch up a couple times too.

>> don't we know how to make corners on a puzzle?

>> my understanding it was a square puzzle.

>> apparently we don't know how to build a puzzle.

>> there we are. slow mode doesn't help matters.

>> no. we were going at that speed actually. that wasn't slow motion . congratulations to the gang from summer camp .

>> yes.

>> let's get to some news this morning. the 911 recordings now starting to come out following the crash of asiana airlines flight 214 . they've been released to the public, pilots ordering passengers to stay seated. 90 seconds later the flight attendants seeing that the plane was in flames ordered the evacuation but the initial order was to stay where you are. the ntsb said we don't know what the pilots were thinking.

>> the plane at that point was in flames. take a listen to some of the 911 calls with passengers pleading for help and ambulances.

>> hi. we just -- we're at the san francisco airport and our airplane just crashed upon landing and i think we need some help here as soon as possible.

>> what runway you at?

>> what's that?

>> are you on a specific runway?

>> i don't know the runway.

>> we have people over here that weren't found and they're burned really badly.

>> okay.

>> there is a woman out here on the street, on the runway who is pretty much burned very severely on the head and we don't know what to do.

>> okay. we do have help started that way. you said that they're there but not enough people.

>> she is severely burned and will probably die soon if we don't get hip.

>> you can hear of course it is a dire situation with some panic there. i am struck by the calmness some of the other passengers in those phone calls also -- and then the 911 operator saying, what runway are you on? that would be wunt whethe one where the plane is crashed and burning.

>> just look out the window. the ntsb said it took two minutes after the crash for the first fire truck to arrive on the scene. obviously there is a fire station there at san francisco international airport . ambulances took about 13 minutes. i think there is some assumption there is at least an ambulance on site but it took 13 minutes to get there. private ambulances were there but the incident commander told hem to keep away from the plane over fears it could explode.

>> so when you see that and think about it, the fact it was the loss of life was not so much worse is still unbelievable to me.

>> incredible.

>>> also a big story we're talking about as you saw yesterday perhaps in the news the boston bombing suspects in court for the first time face to face with some of the victims. dzhokhar tsarnaev making his first public appearance there since he was captured. he pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges and a terrorism indictment. he apparently, you know, even blew a kiss to his sister and his family members who were there in the courtroom but showed no remorse whatsoever. a lot of people in the courtroom commented he didn't even look at the victims or look their way. there are about three dozen victims and family members there as well.

>> one of the attorneys representing tsarnaev, judy clarke, has also represented other high profile clients including the unabomber and susan smith . one of the strange angles to what we saw yesterday was this sort of, i hesitate to use the term, but almost a fan club that was there for tsarnaev. as the vehicle went by there were about a dozen or so people yelling justice for zdzhokhar. according to the associated press. one young woman said she flew from the state of washington across country to be there because she believes he is innocent.

>> unbelievable.

>> based on what we don't know. it is a strange phenomenon that happens with these guys. we saw it with scott peterson . you see it with these criminals, alleged criminal in this case.

>> right.

>> who have these women.

>> they get their fan club , women who marry them even including in prison. so it is a bizarre phenomenon . meanwhile, i think we focus, we see dzhokhar tsarnaev and it is so important to keep the focus on the victims and the man who has become i think the face of the tragedy jeff bowman spoke about that moment with brian williams when he recognized tsarnaev on the street. he is of course in this classic photo that we saw become iconic, in the immediate aftermath of the bombing, seen along with the man, carlos adadondo with the cowboy hat . take a listen to, once again, they're meeting up with brian williams yesterday.

>> not talking to anybody, he wasn't with anybody. he was standing right next to me. i was like, who is he with? what is he doing? he's kind of weird. out of place.

>> i saw the quantity of blood and just, on the floor, and i knew jeff was a person who needs to go soon, very quick to the emergency room , because he lost so much blood at the time.

>> the two of them have forged a really tight bond. carlos also lost one son in iraq. he lost another son who committed suicide. he has known so much tragedy and has been able to help jeff bowman get through some of the worst days of his life. they've really forged sort of a surrogate father and son relationship.

>> actually saved his life that day by rushing to get him help as quickly as he did or he would have obviously bled out. you hear how important bowman's recognition of tsarnaev was to the investigation, there is no telling how long this would have gone on tracking him down but he said there was a guy sitting next to me who just didn't look right with a white and back track. they tracked him down with surveillance.

>> it was that i.d. that led to the capture.

>> eventually.

>> amazing. what a hero.

>> yes.

>>> much lighter news to tell you about. justin bieber in the news again for all the wrong reasons. you may have heard about this. tmz put up a video yesterday of bieber .

>> we're not going to show you the video. there is questionable content .

>> then essentially relieving himself into a mock bucket in the kitchen of a night club in new york city earlier this year. i guess he and his group were leaving through the kitchen and instead of going to the bathroom he stopped to relieve himself.

>> and then they saw a photo of bill clinton on the wall and apparently he made some derogatory comments toward that photo.

>> yes.

>> well, that was all caught on video apparently and that got out and so bieber actually placed a phone call to bill clinton as we understand and the singer apparently apologizing for that behavior, saying he was young, of course, and young and perhaps stupid.

>> how does that phone call go? mr. president, the biebs is on the phone. who? justin bieber wants to speak to you. do you take that call? i guess you do.

>> yeah, i guess. you know, i guess you learn from it. he's a guy who has lived his life in the public spotlight, has been through his own troubles, the president has, and here is a young kid who has lived in the public spotlight and, unfortunately, has done a lot of things that have been questionable as of late.

>> yes. bieber 's camp put out a statement saying justin and president clinton spoke today. justin profusely apologized to the former president, explained he was being stupid and young. he also tweeted, at bill clinton , thanks for taking the time to talk, mr. president. your words meant a lot. # great guy. you know, he is 19 years old but we keep saying, well, he is young, in the spotlight. at some point somebody has to step in. that's what happens to guys when they get famous young. you surround yourself with yes men and nobody tells you you're acting like a jerk sometimes.

>> you know his mother who was here earlier this week did say, oh, we talk. oh, we talk.

>> yes.

>> you know that is a direct, like i'm talking to him every day and probably lecturing him every day as well but if you're not there as the parent and he is surrounded by as you said a lot of people in his entourage that perhaps allow and enable.

>> yes. i just want the audiotape of that phone call . clinton and bieber . how great is that?

>> to be a fly on the wall .

>>> we have baskets of hotel items here for a reason.

>> explain this.

>> posing as a hotel guest the thief is tricking staff into opening a room safe at one of the world's most exclusive hotels, a five star peninsula hotel in hong kong . they give the man a spare key because he claims to be a guest. he was wearing the hotel slippers.

>> therefore he passed through security with the slippers. that is all it takes.

>> hotel confirmed the incident the thief stole about $6400 worth of cash. some people though surprisingly happy to take souvenirs when they stay in hotels. not talking about robbing states.

>> no, like the things they provide at the hotel that you assume goes along with the room charge.

>> these are actually -- actual items that natalie has jacked from some of her hotel rooms .

>> my basket is so much bigger than yours.

>> you take the shampoo.

>> you just take the lotion?

>> just the right thing to do. especially if you use little of it.

>> this is great shampoo. i'm taking that.

>> it's yours.

>> do they provide that?

>> is it hours? we should talk to the hotel.

>> this is like miller harris, good stuff. i grew up not staying at really nice hotels so for me, i was like, yes!>> what is the largest item you ever took from a hotel room ?

>> that's about it. i think slippers. who is going to rewear them?

>> i think that qualifies as theft.

>> no. the ones that you throw out.

>> you use a little of this they're going to throw it away so let's take it home.

>> it is yours to take. what is great, too, i sometimes donate these to charity as well to shelters and stuff.

>> there you go.

>> because once the supply gets too big as i have right here i'll --

>> actually covers her clept cleptomania. i give it to charity.