A penniless parolee conned a hotel into letting him occupy three presidential suites, running up a tab of almost $6,000 while posing as a National Football League dignitary.
One day after being paroled from prison, Christopher Norling, 28, of Roseville, Minn., rented the suites at the Pfister Hotel and ran up a six-day, $5,800 bill before he was discovered as an impostor, authorities said.Norling, who has a college degree in business management, looked up the address of the NFL in the prison library while he was still incarcerated. He then used the New York City address while registering at the hotel, police reports said.
He used $50 to set up an answering service so "that if the hotel called it would sound as if it were the NFL offices," police reports said.
The reports said Norling, who used the fictitious name Chris White, "received lodging, food and various other guest services from the hotel, all billed to his account." Those services included phone charges, valet dry cleaning, fax machine rental, room service, and wet bar.
Norling told police he came to Milwaukee to see his girlfriend and "he needed a place to stay and he didn't have money or a job."
His lodgings last Thursday night were in the Milwaukee County Jail, where he was being held on a charge of felony fraud on a hotel keeper - a count that carries a prison term of up to two years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Milwaukee Police Sgt. Earnell Lucas said the department often receives reports of people defrauding hotels, only on a "much smaller scale."
The 6-foot, 200-pound Norling had two outstanding warrants for his arrest, including one for obstructing an officer, police reports said.
The general manager of the Pfister, Rosemary Steinfest, declined to comment.
The complaint indicated that Norling checked in under the alias Feb. 7, saying he needed the three interconnecting suites for a series of NFL meetings, and stayed until he was confronted by hotel security personnel and police and given the bill on Tuesday.
According to police reports, " `Chris White' was not asked to produce any I.D. The hotel believed `White' because he used the NFL's true business address."
The reports said hotel officials were contacted by NFL representatives who said they had learned someone was using the league's name to secure lodging. It was not known what made NFL officials suspicious.
When hotel personnel confronted him, the complaint says, Norling readily admitted the fraud. He had no money to pay the bill, and he was arrested.
Before checking into the Pfister, Norling made an unsuccessful bid for rooms at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee using the same NFL tale, according to the complaint.
The complaint said Norling also had been in touch with a local cellular telephone firm trying to arrange rental of 40 cellular phones he said were needed by NFL employees and guests who would be in the city for the big meetings.