“Legal thievery.” The majority of Minsk’s hotels are secure. But beware of the Belarusian ruse. Because Belarusians are frightened of the authorities and therefore of committing a crime, certain unscrupulous hotels may engage in a particularly vexing kind of thievery using maids, frequently in collusion with reception staff. In your absence, they may conceal your personal things in the most odd areas of your room, mixing weird combinations of goods such as a mobile phone with a slice of bread, a wallet with a cheap magazine, or a pair of spectacles. The secret is that if you miss them, the maid will return and collect them later; if you report the things missing (or discover them yourself), you won’t be able to do anything since the items never left the room and are thus not deemed theft. The staff may even mock your claim by pointing out why on earth they would want to conceal bread or a hotel magazine – they just tucked the things away when cleaning. Avoid such uncomfortable circumstances by leaving your valuables in the hotel safe or bringing them with you. Always carefully examine the room before checking out, including closets, cupboards, deep shelves, under couches, and radiators.