Peabody Hotel asks for return of stolen items

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) -  The Peabody Hotel in Memphis is giving souvenir filchers a chance to do the right thing.

The historic downtown hotel is asking former sticky-fingered visitors to return towels, silverware, ashtrays and other such items they may have walked off with - with no questions asked.

"People have done it throughout the years," Peabody General Manger Douglas Browne said Wednesday.  "I think in their mind it's not stealing.  But it really is."

The Peabody, famous for its lobby fountain stocked with live ducks, says an "Amnesty for Artifacts" initiative is aimed at filling a memorabilia room for the hotel's 140th anniversary. The room featuring artifacts from the hotel's past is scheduled to open in January.

Just about everything you see in the hotel's current memorabilia room was returned by someone who 'borrowed' it many years ago, or their children who discovered it.  For example, a 1940's vintage bathmat along with a letter signed, "anonymous war bride."

"She was here in 1943, and she celebrated her honeymoon night in the hotel," Browne said.

The letter explains she and took the bathmat as a souvenir but over the years felt guilty about it.

"Her husband recently passed away and she returned the bathmat with at 30 dollar check," Browne said. "We're not asking people to send us money. We just want the item."

Items that will allow everyone the opportunity to enjoy the history of "The South's Grand Hotel."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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