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Crime at the Motorama Motel, Part One

gardenBLUEbrightTOPCrime at the Motorama dinos02sidelogo3Motel, Part One

Part One of a Three-Part Series

(Crystal A. Proxmire)

Ferndale, MI – How common is crime at the Motorama? This question comes up from time to time as the public hears about the most serious of cases, including a heroin-related death earlier this year.

On April 20, 2015 police say a man bought heroin from someone staying at the Motorama, and ended up dying on a front lawn on Fielding Street. The death led to an investigation uncovering a major drug operation through the Metro Detroit area, including drug sales at the Motorama. Earlier this month 25-year-old Shanna Nicole Santori of Detroit was captured in another state and Sahara ad with winesubsequently charged with delivery of a controlled substance causing death.

Neighbors suspected that this was not an isolated incident.

The Motorama is a two-story motel on the corner of 8 Mile and Woodward in Ferndale. The address “100 Eight Mile” is well-known by the men and women whose job it is to help keep the city safe.

According to police records there were 81 calls for service in 2013, including 17 incidents that required police reports. Among those calls for service were 4 death investigations labeled “cause unknown,” and also one drug overdose. Many of the calls are simply “customer trouble,” or no reason given at all.

In 2014 there were 87 calls for service and 15 police reports. The numbers for 2015 are still coming in.

The stack of police reports, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, give insight into some of what happens in and around the motel. The following summaries are Judy_Palmer30yearswritten by the oc115 based on the information in initial police reports, and rely solely on the officers’ documentation of what they found and statements given at the scene. All subjects are innocent until proven guilty, and further research would be needed to determine the outcome of each incident.

According to the Ferndale Police reports, the following took place in 2013….

On Jan. 26, 2013, an officer was working surveillance detail at about 11:25am. He was looking for the occupants of a red Honda Civic that had been reported stolen in a carjacking in Detroit. A woman staying in another room left a Chrysler 300 running in the parking lot. A group of people left room 228 and went to the Honda and the Chrysler. One man drove off with the Chrysler while the others entered the Honda to leave and were quickly surrounded by police. Investigation revealed that a man by the nickname of “Cheese” had driven away the CFSEM-123-OaklandCounty115-digital-ad_v2Chrysler.

On Jan. 28, 2013, a man wearing only a towel and waving a handgun confronted another guest in the parking lot, telling him to stay away from his vehicle. The other guest had not been near the vehicle. When police arrived, the man was arrested and two loaded weapons were secured from his room – a Gold Magnum Research Desert Eagle 50/44 cal and a Remington 700 LH 300 Rem Ultra Mag with wood laminate stock.

On Feb. 4, 2013, a traffic stop near 8 Mile and Woodward led to officers finding drug packaging paraphernalia in the vehicle and a subsequent search of room 221 of the Motorama. A man in the room was arrested and officers found $1,470 in his pants. Also collected from the room were: 2.8 g of suspected crack/cocaine, 5.8 g of suspected heroin, 3.3 grams of suspected marijuana, 15 sandwich bags each with two rocks of suspected crack cocaine inside, 50 pills of Oxycodone from a bottle on the nightstand, 20 pills of Hydrocodone in a bag in a gardenfreshADshoe under the desk, 69 pills of Oxycodone in a bag in a shoe under the desk, four boxes of sandwich bags, 31 Ziplock “Nike” bags, 1 digital scale, 1 small mirror with several razorblades next to it on the desk, 1 pill Methocarbamol, 5 cell phones. One of the officers involved noted the room conditions, stating it was “not suited for renting.” There were cans of bedbug spray around the room, spoiled food in the refrigerator, and the bathroom was dirty as were the floor and tables.

On Feb. 20, 2013, a man was staying in room 203 with a friend, when his ex-girlfriend showed up banging on the door. When the man opened the door he noticed she had a claw hammer and he tried to close the door. She forced herself into the room. The man’s friend hid in the bathroom, and the woman tried to force her way inside. The man grabbed a knife and the two struggled. His hand was cut in the altercation. Eventually the woman went back outside of the room, shattered the window with the claw hammer, and then drove away.

On Feb. 27, 2013, a woman was stopped by an officer at 8 Mile and Woodward for a bicycle garden16_todd_blakenshipinfraction. The woman stated she’d been visiting a friend at the Motorama. She admitted to having a needle on her, which was found inside her jacket. She was arrested for having drug paraphernalia.

On Feb. 27, 2013, a man staying in room 117 was served a warrant and arrested for failure to appear after driving while license suspended. The man posted bond and was released. Later in the day officers observed the same man in the parking lot of the gas station at Woodward and State Fair, briefly interacting with a person who had pulled up in a vehicle then left. The suspect rode his bike back towards the Motorama and was stopped by officers. The man was arrested with two individually packaged rocks of crack cocaine.

On Feb. 28, 2013, a woman gave a name to a police officer in the parking lot of the Motorama. The name came back with warrants and the woman was arrested. Police found .1 g of crack cocaine along with .1 g of heroin. She also had one liquor bottle made into a smoking pipe, a glass crack pipe and about 1” of a pen used to snort heroin. After arrest, fingerprints CandleWickShoppe_Oakland115_144x260determined that she had falsely given her daughter’s name. She had several warrants out of Detroit, St. Clair Shores and Oakland County.

On April 16, 2013, a man staying in room 117 was arrested for possession of cocaine and it was determined he had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear for possession of drug paraphernalia. The man had rode his bike into the lot of the Motorama without a headlight on it. The man swallowed something while police asked to look in his mouth. The man also had a .1 g rock of crack cocaine and a glass pipe.

On April 22, 2013, a man was seen by an officer in the parking lot of the Motarama with a black handgun in his belt. The man had previously had a CPL but it was suspended, and he had not been properly carrying as the weapon was not in a holster. The man was on probation for malicious use of a communication device. The man had been talking with another man to whom he was selling some PS3 games. The gun was unloaded but there was ammunition in royal_servicesthe vehicle. The man was arrested for the CCW violation and probation violation, but was later released without charges because the gun had not been concealed.

On Aug. 5, 2013, police responded to a complaint of domestic violence in room 220. The victim and the suspect had been dating for about a year but did not live together. They had been staying at the Motorama for three days. They had argued earlier in the evening, and then he returned at 2:30am, and in another argument pushed her to the ground. The victim had vomited but was unsure if the vomit had blood in it or was red because she had eaten red candy earlier. Paramedics provided treatment at the scene and she provided a statement about the incident.

On Sept. 14, 2013, a woman and man who had been staying in room 218 had been arguing inside her vehicle in the parking lot. The woman told police she went to the room to let the man “cool off.” When she went back outside, the man was gone as were her laptop and car sidebar012stairsstereo. Surveillance video showed that only the suspect was in or around the vehicle, and that when he left there were items under his arms.

On Sept. 25, 2013, officers and paramedics arrived to the Motorama to assist a man in room 223 who had a severe laceration on his leg. The man and his female companion both stated the man had fallen onto some glass, however the man told paramedics that the woman had cut him. He later told police that the woman was mad at him because he had not come home the night before. Police observed a ceramic crack pipe sticking out of the woman’s pocket. She was arrested.

On Oct. 1, 2013 police received a call from a man claiming that his daughter had a warrant out for her arrest and that she was staying at the Motorama room 213. The woman’s bond had been revoked due to lying about her address at a bond hearing for operating while intoxicated. UrbaneAd_01The information checked out and officers went to the location and arrested the suspect.

On Oct. 28, 2013 Ferndale Police were contacted by Birmingham Police to confirm warrants for arrest of a man whose address was given as the Motorama room 232. Birmingham Police had the man in custody. The man had seven warrants, all for failure to appear on civil infractions. A Ferndale Police officer went to the Birmingham Police station and took the suspect into custody.

On Nov. 18, 2013, an officer noticed a blue Chrysler Sebring in the parking lot of the Motorama with damage to the lock. The officer ran the plates and determined it had been reported stolen on Nov. 13 in Clinton Township. An officer in an unmarked vehicle came to watch the stolen car. Six people approached the stolen car and three got in and began to drive though the parking lot. Police stopped and arrested the three suspects on receiving and concealing stolen property. The other three were questioned on the scene but not arrested.

On Dec. 17, 2013, police were called because a father was concerned for his son’s safety after steele lindbloom adreceiving a phone call from him that sounded like a struggle was taking place. The son and his girlfriend had been staying in room 221, and police later learned that the couple had gotten into a fight the night before. The woman went to PetCo the next day and borrowed a strangers phone to call her parents. Her parents came to pick her up and collect her belongings from the room. Another fight ensued, this time between the son and the girlfriend’s step-father. Police arrived as the step-father had his arms around the son, holding him so he could not fight.

On Dec. 18, 2013, police were called to room 217 because the room had been intentionally damaged by the occupant. The occupant was observed fleeing on foot and was picked up by police. “Once in the room I observed the entire east wall covered in marker with rambles of police conspiracies, fake badges and murder cover ups. Two electrical boxes were removed from the walls and slices of bread were stuffed in the remaining holes. Also a wall lamp was ripped off the wall above the bed and left on the night stand. The damage appeared to be between $200 and $1000,” stated the officer in their report.

These summaries are based off the police reports taken at the time. Reports from 2014 and 2015 will be shared in future oc115 articles. To sign up to have daily headlines delivered to your inbox, go to


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