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Albuquerque hotel is latest target of cruel fire alarm prank

Updated: 06/13/2014 5:13 PM | Created: 06/13/2014 5:08 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4

An Albuquerque hotel has become the latest target of a cruel and dangerous prank.

Someone pretending to be from the fire department tricked the front desk clerk into thinking there was a real emergency.

"It just happened to be our unlucky night," said Dhawal Kholwadwala, owner of the Econo Lodge on Carlisle.

It sounds unbelievable, but the caller was able to trick the clerk into breaking a window in the lobby and she could have been seriously hurt.

"She was in tears when I came in last night to speak with her about the incident," he said.

Kholwadwala said someone pulled the fire alarm at about 2 a.m. Friday morning. Moments later someone called the clerk claiming to be with the fire department.

"Saying there was a problem with one of the fire alarm sensors," Kholwadwala said.

The caller told the clerk the only way to disable the sensor was to break a window. In a panic, she followed his instructions.

"She did break the window with a flashlight and it could have been worse because she could have injured herself. Fortunately she did not," Kholwadwala said. "She got a follow up call from the same person mocking her for basically becoming the victim of a prank."

This is the first time it's been reported in Albuquerque. But we found recordings of similar prank calls at other hotels posted online.

Kholwadwala just wants to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.

"Everybody's a victim," he said. "Not just her, but our business, our reputation, and the guests that had to lose sleep in the middle of the night. There are really no winners here."

The Albuquerque Fire Department says it will never call you and ask you to damage property.

Police said there is a possibility that it also occurred at the Red Roof Inn on Candelaria the same night. If caught, the person who made the call could face criminal charges.


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