(KMOV) – Crack cocaine deals, fights, code violations and sex assaults are just some of the problems police say they continue to find at an Alton, Illinois motel.
Police say they want to shut the motel down for good for the safety of the people who live around it. They say they’ve been trying for years to get the owner to cooperate or even just to talk to them, and now they’ve filed a lawsuit.
It’s the first of its kind in Alton, and possibly in all of Madison County. Police say if they can’t get the attention of the motel owner, they hope a judge will be able to do so by shutting the motel down.
“We have a lot of violent crimes there: batterers, fights, drug dealing that goes on there,” says Lieutenant Al Adams of the Alton Police Department.
Police say undercover officers have even bought crack cocaine from the College Crest Motel six times in the past two years.
“We've had 2 sex assaults out there since 2008 and one involved a 4-year-old child,” says Lieutenant Adams.
Alton police say enough is enough. It’s time to go to court. “If you cause trouble in Alton, we're going to find you and shut you down,” says Allan Napp, Alton City Attorney.
Brad Whitehead owns the motel and says that every property has its problems. “I’m not a babysitter,” he says. “I rent rooms.”
Even though the property is marketed as a motel, people often stay as if it were an apartment. “It's where you should spend a night or a week, but the people who go there, that's their residence where they spend months at a time,” says Lieutenant Adams.
Littered with code violations, police say they’ve been trying to get the owner’s attention, and Whitehead says Friday will be the start of his fight to save his business.