Norwegian hotel calls cops on man because they got his name wrong and thought he used an assumed name; police arrest him in the nude; hotel charges him for the room

Matt sez,

Sorry, this is in Norwegian but it's definitively a story that deserves more attention. In summary, Norwegian Dagfinn Bjelland visits Clarion Collection Hotell Atlantic in Norwegian town of Sandefjord. The reception spells his name wrong, which then makes them suspicious he checked in under a fake name, because apparently no-one goes by the name they typed in. They call the police, who show up and confronts him, and for good measure while he's naked in shower! After some clarification and searching his room they accept the wrong name and the police leave. However, the guest is of course furious and leaves. And does he get his money back? No - and the comment from the hotel director Kari-Ann Norén is "He had used the room and our facilities".

Not only is the story itself bad, but the attitude from the hotel and police is remarkably offensive. The hotel director just states "we have a lot of problems with prositution and drug dealers", while the police spokesman states that "we had our reasons to investigate the tip". According to the story he was neither charged for anything or there was any particular reason for the search than the name being misspelled. But regardless they all imply that the treatment is justified for reasons they can't or won't share.

Dagfinn (31) anholdt naken etter at hotellet stavet navnet feil


  1. Reminds me of the story about the time a hotel was incredibly dismissive and rude to an SF con attendee — forgetting that we have day jobs, and that this one’s day job was travel coordinator for a major corporation. There went _that_ contract…

    1. My friend’s boss was staying at a local hotel to check it out for their annual conference when one of the managers grabbed his crotch. They booked elsewhere.

        1. That’d be apostrophic.  Hyper-apostrophilia.

          Leave the lil’ delicate darlin’s where they belong.  Right there in the sensitive interstitial space between grammanazism and colloquialism.  They know when they’re at the right party, and they surely know when they ain’t.

    1. Might be where you are, but that’s not universal and (unless you’re Norwegian) it’s of no relevance to the story. For instance, in Britain it’s completely legal to go by whatever name you want as long as the intent isn’t to defraud.

    2. What country?  I believe in the US you are under no legal obligation to have ID but that if you don’t many businesses (hotels, airlines) can refuse service to you.  Almost all hotels will require a credit card backed up by ID and if you have a credit card witha fake name then *that’s* very very illegal but I don’t believe that there’s a specific legal requirement on the hotel room itself (just various other requirements that make it practically impossible to rent a room under an assumed name in a legal manner).

  2. So front desk can’t type…and nosy manager says ‘that’s not a -real- name’: hijinks ensue.  

    Don’t the police in Sandefjord have real crimes to fight?  Perhaps not.

    What name was typed?  Crackfinn Hellhand?  Dagpimp Bjunky?

    Hope he stole some towels…

  3. This could not had happened in Spain, they always ask you for a valid ID.
    No ID, no room.
    And if the clerk misspells it and the cops come bashing doors looking for a terrorist it´s purely clerks fault, period.

        1. Oh, I hadn’t realised it was compulsory. Makes me grateful to be living in a country where we (narrowly) avoided it.

          1. The controversial point (at least in Netherland) is the requirement to actually have ID on you at all times (or at least when committing a misdemeanor or crime) so the police can ask for it.

            But in general, the ability to prove you are who you say you are is an advantage to citizens. It’s having to do so on the street that’s problematic.

          2.  In the US, I think it’s a catch-22 – you aren’t required to carry ID at all times, but, if the police ask for your ID and you can’t show any, you can be arrested.

          3. We can prove who we are in the UK through various means (one of the most common being a driving licence – you can hold a provisional licence without having to learn to drive; there are also some government-sponsored card schemes), you’re just not legally compulsory to have ID on you, or to own any at all, at any time. 

            Melinda9: I’m really surprised that the US arrests people for not having ID, as I’d have assumed your somewhat more rigorous freedoms would protect against that. There’s not even a requirement here to have your licence on you while driving (although you must present it at your local police station within seven days if requested by a police officer while you’re in control of a vehicle).

          4. My understanding is you can’t (officially) be arrested in the US for failure to produce ID.  In many states you can be “detained” however–and how long that detention can be is pretty variable.  Just what “Produce ID” means gets murky too–it often seems that “produce ID” can be interpreted by the courts as simply answering verbally, in a reasonable, believable way, who you are.

            But, in any case, if you do fail to produce an ID, there’s a good chance that refusal will cause the police to find some other reason to actually arrest you. But technically, I don’t think there’s any official requirement to have physical ID upon your person that can cause arrest per se in the US.

      1. In Spain it´s compulsory. If you are 14 or over, you MUST have it.
        There is also a special id for foreigners residing long periods. 
        If you come from a country where national id is not compulsory, hotels accepts the most popular international standard: your passport.
        The real problem comes when a Schengen Area citizen comes without a national id or a passport: all funny faces and awkward.

  4. Having lived in Sweden for a few years, Kari-Ann Norén sounds all too familiar: one of those stasi-style humourless automatons, singularly lacking in humanity, that are common in Scandinavia. 

  5. From the reactions of the police and the hotel manager, this hotel definitely sounds like a hotbed of drugs, prostitution and police raids. Not a place where a normal person would want to spend the night.

  6. This headline says the man was arrested, in the nude no less. The article (at least the English summary here) says no such thing.
    Cops come to a mans hotel room at an inconvenient time because of a misunderstanding over ID. They clear things up and leave. The guy then leaves of his own accord and is billed for the use of the room.

    Perhaps this story is from the Norwegian Daily Mail?

    1. You don’t have to be hauled down to the station to be arrested – if the police are present, and are not allowing you to leave, you’re under arrest.

      In this case, he was arrested for a short time in his hotel room, then the police decided no to charge him with a crime, so they released him from arrest.

      1. But it’s so much easier to have a fluid definition of ‘arrest’ that allows for more flexible deference to authority.

    2. That’s how I read it too.  The guy left the hotel in a huff and the hotel refused to refund his money because he had already taken a shower.  Mostly it’s the hotel that comes out looking bad here because they called the goddamn cops on him over their own clerical error and then refused to even comp his room.  That’s some outrageously bad customer service right there.

    3. If you go to the article, it says that he was dressed and then marched through the hotel. So, yes, he was arrested. He wasn’t charged.

  7. Huh… and how good is your establishment if you’re telling reporters “yeah, we have lots of drugs and prostitution here…”

    I guess that would drive away a lot of clientele, but attracts some others… 

  8. Is Norway one of those Scandinavian countries that limits the names that its citizens can give their children, so you can’t name your child Maledictus Hitler Bjornson, or something?

    1. Yup. All given names have to come from the approved list, and there are heavy restrictions on choosing family names as well.

      The law’s applied rather inconsistently though: on the one hand Bjørn is not approved (it literally means bear and animal names are not allowed) yet is widely used, on the other hand parents have been jailed for giving unapproved names.

      1. Are you serious?  If true, that sounds outrageous to my American ears.  If someone wants to name their kid “Happy Sunshine” or some other dumb crap, that’s their prerogative.  Kids can change their name when they turn 18, and use nicknames until then if they hate it. 

        1. Would it also be the parents prerogative if they wanted to call ther child eg. “Aryan Nation” or “Shoot Me”? This law and others are in place to protect children against their parents bad choices. Would it also be the parents prerogative if they wanted to eg. not send their child to school.

          1. I seem to remember a U.S. case that involved some white poor parents naming their innocent child “Hitler”.

          2. You know, there might be some middle ground between preventing abuse and forcing people to choose names from a list which seems to exist to enforce cultural ‘purity’.

  9. So don’t give a fake name that sounds fake? Its your fault for staying at this motel.

    Great detective work.

    1. The name didn’t sound fake. Dagfinn is a perfectly normal first name, and Helland is a perfectly normal last name. (And contrary to what the hotel found, there’s actually people who have that name.)

      1. A quick search on (Yellow Pages) found two with the name Dagfinn Helland. And Gulesider doesn’t list everyone.

        1. Tried to comment on Tønsberg Blad’s article but the ()(&¤#% idiots require a Facebook account to do so.  

  10. Much ado about nothing methinks. Other than the hotel charging him and being assholes. But Is that really remarkable? It’s just human error followed by dickishness. Seems to me like that’s standard operating procedure in all shitty hotels.

    1. You believe that having the police charge into your hotel bathroom while you’re showering and arrest you is nothing? You must live some kind of crazy, fucked up life if that’s normal for you.

  11. Tønsbergs Blad is a local newspaper serving a tiny area.  This is probably big news by their standards.  I live in Oslo these days, right now the online 
    Aftenposten has no mention of this.

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