Ottawa man says hotel in Laval, Que., should warn guests that car thefts are a problem

Jose Velasquez was enjoying his stay at the Sheraton Hotel in Laval, Que., when he traveled there from Ottawa recently for his son’s hockey tournament — until his car disappeared.

He tried to track it down with GPS, but the results weren’t much help.

“At first I thought maybe I parked it elsewhere, but it shows me exactly where I parked it, and I knew it was gone,” said Velasquez.

The night before his own car was stolen, Velasquez had heard of other car thefts at the same hotel, located just off Highway 15, north of Montreal.

“I didn’t think my car was in danger because maybe it’s a rare occurrence,” he said.

Yet another hockey parent complained on Facebook about the frequency of car thefts at the Sheraton in Laval, warning people not to stay at the hotel.

More patrols needed: APA head

George Iny, the head of the Montreal-based Automobile Protection Association (APA), said thefts don’t surprise him.

“Vehicles from out of town are sometimes targeted,” said Iny. “When that happens, it might be because of the theft of contents — someone traveling is more likely to have stuff left inside the vehicle.”

Iny said where a single hotel seems to be the focus of so many thefts, tighter security measures may be called for.

“Definitely, if it’s not already being done, the addition of regular patrols of one sort or another” would seem to be a good idea, he said, “… either private or the police or both.”

In a statement, Laval police said the hotel could be a target, with lots of people coming and going and lots of luxury cars parked in their lots. In 2022, 1,539 cars were stolen in Laval, police said. Between January and the end of April of this year, 568 cars were reported stolen.

Morgan Leon, an executive assistant for the Laval Sheraton’s owner, Groupe Hôtelier Grand Château Inc., said one stolen vehicle is one too many, but “we cannot conclude that there has been a wave of thefts at our hotel.”

Car thefts are a global problem, Leon said, including in Quebec. The hotel owner has no further comments to make on the subject, she said.

But Velasquez said hotel staff should do more to warn clients of the risk of car theft in the vicinity.

“If you know this is an ongoing problem in your hotel, you should do something about it or at least let people know,” Velasquez said. “Maybe I would rethink taking my new car and taking an older car.”

CBC News sent the city of Laval a request for an interview, but that request was declined.

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