Hotel Clerk Held Up at Gunpoint

The Comfort Suites in Lufkin had a full house Tuesday night when a man walked into the lobby, jumped over the desk and robbed the place.

Victor Patel, president of U.S. Hospitality Management, said, "It was very unusual for it to happen yesterday. All three hotels were full and it was a lot of activity in the parking lot. The restaurant - the Hole in One - was still open, so when I got the call I was shocked that it was happening."

It's the second robbery at the group of hotels along busy Highway 59 South in 12 years and owner Victor Patel has no doubt Tuesday night's thief will be caught.

"We have closed-circuit cameras at the front desk, which is being recorded," Patel said. "I think it was a very errant situation. It's not representative of what happens, not just at our hotels [but] any hotel in Lufkin. I think it's still a very safe place and a very safe community."

The suspect was wearing blue jeans and a black shirt. He went into a restroom and came out wearing a mask. Police said he pointed a gun at the clerk before he took off with an undisclosed amount of money from the hotel safe.

Lt. David Young of the Lufkin Police Department said, "It's very difficult to make a business robbery-proof because you have to have access for your customers, and if someone chooses to rob it it's very difficult to prevent it."

After the robbery, a witness saw the suspect run towards South First Street with the cash. The hotel employee was not hurt.

Since the man hid his identity, authorities are not sure of his race. If you have any information on this robbery or any other crime, call the Lufkin Police Department.