Newlyweds Robbed During Wedding At San Diego's Humphreys Half Moon Inn Seeking Redress

December 7, 2021

There have been several recent reports of couples being robbed during their weddings at Humphreys Half Moon Inn, and for at least one pair of newlyweds, the San Diego resort is allegedly denying responsibility.
Last week we received an Instagram message from an individual who stated he and his wife were robbed during their wedding and subsequent reception at Humphreys Half Moon Bay Inn on San Diego's Shelter Island on Saturday, October 16. The couple, who for now wishes to remain anonymous pending resolution of this matter, alleges the thieves not only robbed their room, but went on to use their stolen keys to rob the couple's home and steal their car.

"We had our wedding there this past October and during the wedding, our room as well as two other bridal suites were broken into," explained the victim. "They used keys in a purse to rob our home and steal my wife's car and attempted to rob another couples' storage unit. The cameras 'didn’t work in those areas and are spotty' they said. The maid also lied about not being in our room according to logs. Humphreys is attempting to take zero blame and has offered 0 support or even $1 of compensation. A guest services employee responded to most of my calls but that's about it. The room logs show our room being left open by housekeeping for 23 mins and then no key besides mine was used that night. Their insurance company never once called or emailed us to gather info or facts before denying liability." 

These specific newlyweds were not the only recently married couple robbed that night and online reviews indicate there is an ongoing problem with theft at the hotel. According to a report by ABC News 10 San Diego, at least three bridal suites were burglarized on the evening of October 16. Google reviews for Humphreys Half Moon Inn going back three years show multiple allegations of theft at the 60+ year-old resort.  

Half Moon Inn opened as a hotel and marina in 1960. In 1980, after a few name changes, the hotel’s restaurant became Humphreys, named after popular film actor Humphrey Bogart. General Partner Richard Bartell bought the resort in 1984, which became Humphreys Half Moon Inn & Suites two years later. Today, Bartell Hotels owns several hotel properties around San Diego, including The Dana on Mission Bay, Sheraton La Jolla Hotel, Hilton San Diego Airport/Harbor Island, Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina, Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle, Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside, and Pacific Terrace Hotel. 

Following what they claim has been a lack of outreach from Humphreys and Bartell Hotels representatives, the victims are now considering filing a civil lawsuit for negligence and associated claims against Humphreys Half Moon Inn. A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help the couple with expenses. 

"Humphrey's never reached out a single time," continued the victim. "Not to offer apologies, not to offer to comp some of our charges. The housekeeper initially told the hotel that no one was in the room while she cleaned. We mentioned that we had a chat with her in the room and that her story was not true and the next time I talked to them her story had changed. 'She's a long time trusted employee.'"

We reached out to Bartell Hotels CEO Richard Bartell, Vice President Lydia Bartell, and several other employees requesting comment and more information for this article, but, despite numerous attempts, we received no response from anyone at the company.  

Below is a letter the victim sent to Humphreys Half Moon Inn:

"This letter is in regard to the incident that occurred at Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn on October 16, 2021 and the events that followed because of them. We are insisting that all evidence be retained in reasonable anticipation of litigation including but not limited to all email communications, documents, and CCTV footage concerning this incident. We also request a copy of CCTV footage from 5:30pm on October 16, 2021 that shows our room [338] as well as anyone who came and went from our room within 8 hours.

At 6 pm, our wedding ceremony took place on The Green with our reception immediately following. After our ceremony (which lasted approximately 25 minutes) we entered our room through the open front door to find it was being cleaned (as we had requested). After changing shoes we headed to the Marina ballroom and the housekeeper let us know she was only planning to clean the bathroom and make the bed. At some point after this, Jacqueline’s purse was removed from our room. Our room was not left open using one of our room keys as the hotel log indicates.

At approximately midnight, we received a fraud alert regarding [wife]’s credit card. When we returned to our room we found that [wife]'s purse was missing from our room. At this point we called the front desk and were told they could 'do nothing about it at the moment and to call back after 7am.'

The next morning when we talked to the front desk, we discovered that we were not the only bridal suite to be burglarized at Humphrey’s that night. A police report was filed and we packed our bags to return home. When we arrived home we were horrified to find [wife]'s car had not only been stolen but our front door was wide open and our home completely ransacked. There were no signs of forced entry and it appeared [wife]'s key was used to open our front door.

Upon entering our home, we discovered various items had been broken including coffee tables and dressers. Many of our most valuable items (both in terms of monetary and sentimental value) had been taken. The items stolen include but are not limited to: television, watches, laptops, jewelry, clothing, cameras, hard drives, bicycles, guitars, an autographed Kobe Bryant rookie jersey and many other things listed in our police report. The items totaled approximately $[REDACTED]. It’s no coincidence that the other wedding party celebrating at Humphrey’s was also robbed the same night. Clearly security is severely lacking and practically non-existent. We’ve learned that the suspects were unnoticed on the property for hours while roaming around unbothered.

Our wedding was supposed to be the most special day of our lives. We carefully saved for our big day and did not lose hope after postponing it twice over the last 18 months during a global pandemic. Instead of remembering our special day, we are left with the memory of watching each other collapse to the floor, crying and wondering how something like this could have happened to us. We have not only been robbed of close to $[REDACTED] of real property, but also robbed of the joy that comes with celebrating with your friends and family after your wedding. Instead of 'Congratulations' we hear, 'I’m so sorry that happened to you.' Instead of enjoying our time to reflect after our wedding, we had to document every stolen item with the police. Instead of enjoying our honeymoon, we needed to have constant conversations with police and concerned family. We lost countless memories and had them replaced with terrible ones. Instead of enjoying our new lives as husband and wife, we’ve needed to spend countless hours replacing things to try to put our lives back together and participated in countless conversations with police.

We have both begun to seek therapy to deal with the trauma associated with these events and quite honestly can’t see a way to view Humphrey’s, the place we were supposed to celebrate our perfect wedding, as anything but negative. We no longer even feel comfortable in our own home.

The lack of accountability from Humphrey’s is shocking. At the time of this writing it has been over 15 days since the events and we have yet to hear from anyone other than Melissa, who runs guest services. Melissa has been the lone bright spot in an otherwise disappointing experience. We left a voicemail for the General Manager while waiting for the police to take a report 15 days ago and have received zero response. There has been zero attempt to make things any better or offer apologies. This only further demonstrates a pattern of negligence. When people book a hotel room, there is a certain level of security they should feel and that has also been robbed from us due to a complete failure of Innkeeper’s duties.

We consider Humphrey’s to be 100% responsible for all damages incurred. We have yet to retain legal counsel and hope to avoid that as it will be a no-win scenario for all involved. However, this letter also reserves all of our legal rights against Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn and its employees, including but not limited to our ability to bring a claim for negligence, gross negligence, breach of contract, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. We have also received outreach from four San Diego news outlets asking us to run a story. We have ignored those requests up to this point."