Homeless man checks himself into Pittsburgh luxury hotel

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Jeffrey Watson pulled off his shoes and slept Tuesday in a hotel presidential suite with crystal chandeliers, a grand piano and a wet bar.

He spent much of Wednesday inside a cell at the Allegheny County Jail after he was charged with trespassing and stealing services at the Omni William Penn Hotel on William Penn Place, Downtown.

Hotel staff called 911 after guests told them they tried to check into their room on the hotel's 16th floor about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and opened the door to find Mr. Watson sleeping on a sofa in the 1,300-square-foot parlor.

Police and hotel staff did not say how Mr. Watson, a 48-year-old homeless man, made his way undetected into the luxury hotel room or how long they thought he had been there.

Hotel general manager Eric DeStefano said in a statement Wednesday that Mr. Watson's unexpected presence in the suite was an "isolated incident."

He said the suite's parlor, where Mr. Watson was found, is often the site of small events.

"The door had been programmed to remain unlocked for an event earlier that day. As soon as the occupant was discovered, he was escorted off the property," Mr. DeStefano said.

When Pittsburgh police arrived at the hotel, Mr. Watson was in the security office. He told police that he is from Los Angeles and came to Pittsburgh for about a month.

He said he "sleeps wherever he can locate somewhere comfortable ... to rest his head," according to a criminal complaint.

Police told Mr. Watson he was no longer allowed at the Omni William Penn Hotel and took him to the jail, where he was being held Wednesday on $15,000 bail. He faces a Nov. 19 preliminary hearing.

Online court records show he has traveled throughout the state. He was arrested in Philadelphia numerous times in August on trespassing or loitering charges. He pleaded guilty to open lewdness, disorderly conduct and indecent exposure in various cases in Bucks County in 2008.

Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil. First Published November 6, 2013 1:30 PM

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