‘Jeopardy!’: Alex Trebek Once Confronted Hotel Thief That Stole Late Mother’s Bracelet

by Thad Mitchell

Legendary Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek may be gone, but he left quite a legacy that will remain in place for many years to come.

Trebek lost his long battle with pancreatic cancer late last year, passing away on November 8 at the age of 80. The all-time great game show host recorded his final episodes of Jeopardy! just days before his passing. In his place, Jeopardy! officials have turned to various celebrities to serve as guest hosts of the show. While these celebrities are doing an admirable job of filling in as host, the shoes of Alex Trebek will never be truly filled.

Friends and family remember Alex Trebek as a kind, gentle and sophisticated man who commands the respect of everyone around him. The Jeopardy! host had also gained the reputation of a great storyteller, whom people loved listening to. In a 2019 interview with actor Michael McKean, Trebek recalls a 2011 incident that left an impact on him. His story is equal parts humorous, crime story and vintage Alex Trebek.

Jeopardy! watchers may have taken notice of the Gucci bracelet Alex Trebek wore on his wrist for practically every show. The original bracelet went missing one night in 2011 while he and his wife were asleep in a San Francisco hotel. The bracelet was a prize possession to Trebek as it was given to him by his late mother, who found it in the parking lot of a CVS Pharmacy. He would stop at nothing to get the bracelet back but instead had to replace it with a new one.

Noticing an unrecognizable figure of a woman in his hotel room, Alex Trebek leaped into action after realizing his precious bracelet was gone. His wallet and wife’s purse were also missing, but it was the sentimental bracelet he wanted back the most. He pursued the female thief and eventually caught up to her. He pursued her with such gusto, the Jeopardy! host severely hurt himself.

‘Jeopardy!’ Host Recalls Theft of Treasured Bracelet

“I rushed down the hall after this woman,” he recalls. “I didn’t see her when I got to the elevator bank, but a few seconds later she came out of the little anteroom where the ice machine was. Then I asked, ‘What were you doing in our room?’ She said, ‘I wasn’t in your room.’ I said, ‘Yes, you were. I saw you.’ She said, ‘No, I wasn’t.’ I said, ‘Well, let’s let security decide what happened.’ I went to the phones in the hallway next to the elevators. She said, ‘Oh,’ and took off. I’m in a T-shirt and underwear. I was running down the hallway. All of a sudden, I heard [click] and I collapsed. I had severed my Achilles (tendon) and struggled to my feet and got back to the phone because I had contacted security just as she took off.”

Alex Trebek then told security officers what was going on and that bracelet and other items were missing.

“I got back to security and I described her. They found her. The police came. I walked into the room around the corner where she had come from. I looked under the ice machine and there was my wife’s purse. Somebody else employed by the hotel looked in the ice-making room one floor down and found my wallet. They never found the bracelet.”

With the help of the Jeopardy! research team, Trebek was able to track down a replica bracelet. His wife, as it turns out, had the same idea.

“I said, ‘Honey, you’ll never guess. With the help of the staff, I managed to track down a replacement bracelet in New York.'” he recalls. “She said, ‘Why? I just had this one made for you.’ So I now have two of them.”

Years later, Alex Trebek was able to track the thief who stole the bracelet. The woman was in prison but told him she put the bracelet in a trash receptacle near the hotel.

“So it’s in the San Francisco dump,” he says to conclude the interview.