Man Uses Rodents to Scam Hotels Into Offering Free Stays

A Utah man is facing criminal charges after he reportedly released rodents in his hotel rooms to avoid having to pay for his stay.

According to, 37-year-old Ryan Sentelle State recently admitted to police that he had been setting mice and hamsters loose at various hotels and asking for a free room after complaining about the small animals and their droppings.

Police in Utah know the man had pulled off the stunt in at latest three different hotels, but the investigators believe State likely scammed his way to free rooms in multiple other facilities in the area.

Authorities investigating the case claim the released rodents “damaged several hotel rooms” and cost the owners of the properties thousands of dollars as they were forced to contact pest control to remove the offending creatures from inside the rooms.

As a result of the case, State faces five class B misdemeanor charges with three counts of criminal mischief and two charges of theft by deception.

Scams have become an all-too-common occurrence in the travel industry. As a result, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and AARP announced in December a coordinated campaign aimed at educating senior travelers to avoid travel scams.

The collaboration aligns with both AHLA’s Search Smarter campaign and the AARP Fraud Watch Network, initiatives designed to help consumers avoid falling victim to scams and fraud.

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