Police Reports Show Crime at Motorama Motel as Legal Battle Continues
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 19, 2018)
Ferndale, MI – Over two and a half years after the City of Ferndale denied renewing the business license of the Motorama Motel at 100 W. 8 Mile Road, the business remains open while a lawsuit against the city over that decision continues.
Both the Motorama and 8 Wood motels were denied their license renewals in 2016. Both sued the City, but 8 Wood owners entered into an agreement to enact security measures to reduce crime. The decision take on the motels came in early 2016 after a person who bought heroin from a drug ring utilizing both motels had died on the front lawn of a nearby home. In 2015, Oakland County Times obtained police reports from incidents at the Motorama covering nearly three years. Incidents included assaults, drug arrests, robberies, stolen property and drug overdoses.
The need for safety at hotels has been an issue both locally and nationally as communities try to solve the issues of heroin and human trafficking. Oakland County’s Human Trafficking Task Force has been educating residents and officials on how to spot the signs, and the City of Madison enacted a new ordinance to regulate hotels that gives them the power to shut them down if crime and property issues continue.
In Ferndale, the agreement with 8 Wood has led to lower crime rates. Security measures such as camera, requiring photo copies of IDs, and assigning numbered parking spaces has resulted in fewer incidents involving the police. Police do regular compliance checks, which have only resulted in two cases of unauthorized cars. One of those was of a registered guest who had simply parked in the wrong spot.
A review of police reports from Jan. 1, 2018-Aug. 24, 2018 shows only two notable incidents. On April 16 a man broke the motel’s office window after being denied a room and on Aug. 8 a man was smoking marijuana in a room and police assisted with asking the man to leave.
When asked how things had been going at 8 Wood, City Manager April Lynch said “They have been in compliance with our agreement.”
Right next door, The Motorama Motel has been another story. Oakland County Times obtained police reports for Jan. 1, 2018- Aug. 24, 2018, which includes over 60 incidents that required reports. In 2013 that number was 17. In 2014 that number was 15. And in 2015 there was over 80.
When asked for an update on the case, City Manager April Lynch said “The Court of Appeals agreed with the City and reversed the trial court’s denial of the City of Ferndale’s motion for summary disposition. Motorama has filed a motion for reconsideration to the Court of Appeals. That motion has not yet been considered and we have no time line for that.” Lynch could not comment any further due to the pending litigation.
The police reports are similar to those found in 2015, the year leading up to the City’s denial. There are also an increased number of reports due regular police checks of vehicles in the parking lot. The list below includes summaries written by Oakland County Times based on those reports.
On Jan. 3, 2018 Officers responded to a 911 call from Room 120 with no one speaking. When they arrived a woman yelled “Hurry up and get in here.” A man and woman were in the room. The woman had a laceration on her face that was bleeding, and her eye was beginning to swell up. She stated she could not move her arm because her boyfriend had injured her shoulder. She had attempted to call 911, but the man pulled the phone from the wall. The couple admitted to having smoked crack and there was a crack pipe found in the man’s jacket pocket. The man also had a 2 in knife with crack residue on the blade. The man was arrested and the woman was taken to the hospital due to her injuries.
On Jan. 6, 2018 Police received several calls from a man stating that he was in a fight with a woman. Police arrived to Room 216 to find the room in disarray. The occupant of the room said that another man and woman had been in the room fighting. They made the mess and then left. Police determined that no crime had occurred, but ran a check on the man in the room. The man had several warrants from multiple jurisdictions on drug-related charges. The man was arrested on the warrants. He was found to be in possession of 2.34 grams of marijuana. The City Attorney denied the request by police to charge the man with marijuana possession.
On Jan 14, 2018 A man staying at the motel was taken to the hospital after a petition for commitment was completed on his behalf by police. Officers had done multiple welfare checks on the man who called police several times over the course of four days complaining of non-existent ailment. The man had been unable to manage his own basic care and was unaware of his surroundings. His room was strewn with trash and other items were in disarray.
On Jan. 14, 2018 A vehicle in the parking lot matched that of a woman who had a warrant issued by Farmington Hills police. Police contacted the woman in Room 226 and took her into custody.
On Jan. 19, 2018 Police were called to Room 217 due to a domestic argument in progress. Officers heard yelling through the door. A man and woman inside the room said the argument was only verbal, not physical. The woman stated that she would leave the room.
On Feb. 3, 2018 Police were dispatched to the motel after receiving a 911 hang up call. Police arrived to find that a man had been pushed through the front window of the Motorama. According to the clerk the man came to the office to call a cab. His girlfriend did not want him to leave and pulled him back out the front door. She then pushed him into the window, causing it to shatter. The man refused medical attention. The woman was arrested and found to have a blood alcohol level of .16.
On Feb. 6, 2018 A man and a woman failed to use the crosswalk, then entered the Motorama parking lot. They were staying in Room 217. A patrol officer stopped the couple and asked for identification. The woman gave a false name. The officer asked for the correct name and learned the woman had several warrants in Detroit for drug related charges. Police asked her when she had used drugs last and she said an hour before. Police asked if she had drugs or needles on her. She produced a brown leather eyeglass case with a needle and crack pipe in it. On the scene police also found two containers of pills, Lorazepam and Tramadol in her purse. In a lanyard with a twist off container police found two wax paper bindles containing heroin and a clear plastic bag with crack cocaine in it. During booking police also found a needle in her jacket pocket and more items in her purse including two more crack pipes, push rods, two spoons, one of which had white powder residue, two folding knives with white powder residue on the tips and three lighters. The man was not arrested.
On Feb. 12, 2018 Officers helped the Ferndale Fire Department with a medical run where a guest was having a panic attack.
On Feb. 16, 2018 A man was pacing back and forth in the west parking lot. An officer made contact and found the man had an outstanding warrant for disorderly conduct. The man was arrested for the warrant.
On Feb. 22, 2018 A man who rented a room had invited someone over, but then wanted them to leave. The person left when police arrived.
On Feb. 24, 2018 Police ran the plates of a vehicle in the Motorama parking lot. The registered owner has a warrant from Royal Oak for domestic violence. Police found the man in Room 116 and arrested him on the warrant. The man also had marijuana, but was not charged for it.
On Feb. 28, 2018 Officers arrested one man in Room 208 for possession of heroin. He had .33 grams of heroin plus paraphernalia. After the man was arrested, police waited for another man to return who was a registered sex offender and was on parole for with Muskegon County Parole Office for witness-bribing/intimidation/interfering. After the man returned, police questioned him. The man kept an object clutched in his hand while he spoke with police. Police ordered him to show what it was, but he refused. Police struggled in cuffing him as he resisted. An officer used a taser on the man who let go of the object. The object could not be found or identified due to the large amount of debris in the area. The man was arrested for obstruction.
On March 2, 2018 Police were called because of customer trouble. Upon arrival they learned that a guest wanted to switch rooms because of a leak in his room, or he wanted a refund. The clerk agreed to switch rooms.
On March 3, 2018 Someone called 911 from the motel stating that her boyfriend was assaulting her. The caller did not give a room number or name. Call back was unsuccessful. When officers arrived they did not hear any arguments coming from rooms, and they were unable to locate the caller.
On March 3, 2018 Police received a call of a couple arguing in Room 123. When officers arrived both parties were uncooperative and refused to identify themselves. Officers were able to speak to the woman who said there was no physical altercation. Officers did not observe any injuries on either party.
On March 4, 2018 A couple staying in Room 211 had an argument. Callers to 911 reported that a man was assaulting a woman. The woman had left the room, but wanted to retrieve her cell phone from inside the room. She banged on the window, causing it to break. The woman admitted to breaking the window. The owner of the motel did not want to make a Malicious Destruction of Property report.
On March 9, 2018 Someone staying at the Motorama contacted police about a potential domestic violence incident in progress in another room. A woman in the room said that her boyfriend had stolen her phone and ran towards 8 Mile. Police located the man and the phone. The woman than said that the phone had not been stolen and that no argument had occurred.
On March 18, 2018 A man reported that he had gotten a room with a female he had a previous encounter with at the Cranbrook Inn in Detroit. He picked the woman up and got a room. He fell asleep and when he woke up his silver Ford Freestyle and $300 in cash were missing. The woman was recorded leaving the room and closing the door gently behind her before taking off in the vehicle. The vehicle was later recovered in Royal Oak Township.
On March 21, 2018 Officers found a vehicle in the parking lot that belonged to someone with a felony probation warrant from the 16th Circuit Court. Officers verified the room number of the woman and arrested her without incident.
On March 23, 2018 Officers responded to a hang up 911 call with a suspected fight. They located the source in Room 126 where two women had been in arguments with a man who was one of the women’s boyfriends. The girlfriend had a laceration on her lip which she stated was from an object the suspect had thrown at her. The suspect had left before police arrival. The girlfriend told police that everything was okay and she did not want medical attention.
On March 31, 2018 two guests crossed 8 Mile road where there was no crosswalk. One was cited for a pedestrian violation. The other was arrested for an outstanding Detroit Police Department traffic warrant and possession of 2 g of marijuana.
On April 1, 2018 A guest in Room 205 called to report that an acquaintance had sent a threatening text and that he wanted police to document it.
On April 5, 2018 Officers went to Room 212 to arrest a man with a warrant through Michigan Department of Corrections. Two women were in the room also. Both women were found with drugs and paraphernalia that included crack, crack pipes, five needles, a tourniquet, a cigar holder that one woman said was used to hold her crack pipe, and yellow plastic baggies that were torn open and contained crack cocaine residue. Crack was found in one of the baggies, and during booking more crack was found in a baggie inside one of the women’s bras. One of the women initially gave a false name to police. She was found to have a warrant for probation violation out of 6th Circuit Court.
On April 5, 2018 Police were requested to do a welfare check of a guest in Room 205. The guest had left before police arrival.
On April 8, 2018 Police were called to assist with a medical transport, reason not listed.
On April 10, 2018 Officers were called to serve as peace officers by observing while a guest was served with a Personal Protection Order.
On April 14, 2018 A man staying at the Motorama was stopped for a pedestrian violation. The man was found to have a push rod, Chore Boy, and a lighter. He stated that he had bought crack from a nearby gas station and smoked it there. The man was advised about the pedestrian violation and about an outstanding traffic warrant in Detroit.
On April 28, 2018 A man died in Room 109. The cause was unknown to police at the time of the report, however another man staying in the room stated that the deceased had consumed alcohol and that he’d had several prescriptions. The roommate said that the deceased had fallen in the bathroom and struck his head earlier in the day. He had appeared fine, but later when the man woke up his friend was slumped over on the bed and unresponsive. Police were able to find a relative using the man’s cell phone.
On May 1, 2018 Officers were called to Room 129 to assist Ferndale Fire Department with a medical run involving a man with knee pain.
On May 4, 2018 A woman in Room 203 reported that another woman showed up demanding money and fled when the police were called. The woman who left had an outstanding parole violation warrant out of Michigan Department of Corrections. The occupant of the room agreed to call if the suspect returned.
On May 5, 2018 Police were called to assist Ferndale Fire Department on a medical run for someone possibly having an allergic reaction. The cause was not documented.
On May 9, 2018 Officers ran the plates of a vehicle in the parking lot that belonged to a woman with a warrant for failing to appear regarding a disorderly conduct charge. The woman was arrested and also found to be in possession of eight Adderall pills that had not been prescribed to her and a glass marijuana pipe.
On May 10, 2018 Police were called for help with customer trouble, but the call was cancelled prior to officer arrival.
On May 15, 2018 Police were called because a man was asking for money back from the hotel so he could get food. He was staying in a room that was under his friend’s name. Police advised the man that since the room was not in his name he could not get money back.
On May 21, 2018 Police arrived to Room 119 due to a man in the room having cut his wrist. There was blood on the table, in the bathroom, and on the man’s hand and wrist. The man’s girlfriend was there and stated that she was a prostitute and the man was upset when she was with other men. The woman gave police a false name and also admitted to smoking crack earlier that day. When she admitted her real name police found there was a parole violation warrant from the Michigan Department of Corrections for larceny. The woman was arrested and the man was transported to the hospital.
On May 22, 2018 Hotel staff contacted police to report a man sleeping in his vehicle in the parking lot. The man was not a guest and officers asked him to leave.
On June 1, 2018 An officer observed a person staying at the Motorama crossing 8 Mile Road against the light. The man did not have any outstanding warrants and was allowed to go on his way.
On June 2, 2018 Officers were sent to Room 222 on report of breaking and entering and theft. The female occupant of the room had fallen asleep while intoxicated with the door to the room “wide open.” An unknown male entered the room and stole $200 from the drawer of the night stand, $80 from her purse, a debit card and a gold pendant. A man staying with the woman came back to the room and saw a male wearing all black flee. Police were unable to find the suspect. A security camera was directed towards the room, however the clerk on duty did not know how to operate the security cameras.
On June 4, 2018 A male guest staying in Room 212 allowed an unknown homeless man and another man into the room to drink with him. The man reported that a Smartphone, iPad, and charger were stolen, but that the homeless man returned the iPad. The other items remained missing and police were unable to locate the homeless man described. The stories of all three involved were inconsistent and changed multiple times. All three were intoxicated.
On June 14, 2018 A customer who had checked out of the motel returned looking for a pair of boots she had left in the room. She said the boots contained $1,000 in cash. The clerk advised the customer that all property left in rooms is thrown out. The clerk retrieved a trash bag, opened it and gave the woman the boots. The woman has also claimed that the clerk had backed into her vehicle, causing damage. The woman left the scene prior to police arrival.
On June 17, 2018 Three men entered Room 206. The accounts of what happened next varied, but security cameras provided police with the clearest picture. The men entered the room and shortly after one of them stepped out but was pulled back in. A few seconds later the man left again. The door closed behind him. He kicked the door, with no effect, and proceeded down the stairs. He went to the front desk where asked the clerk to call police. The clerk did not. The man went to his car and got a tire iron and smashed out the driver’s window of one of the other men’s vehicle. The other men came out of the room and they exchanged words. The man left the scene and was not found.
On June 17, 2018 A guest reported having his credit cards and vehicle stolen. The guest had picked up the suspect at John R and 6 Mile and brought her to the hotel. He fell asleep and woke to find the woman and his property gone. The man left the hotel and walked to McDonalds and called his daughter to pick him up before going to the police station to make a report. After making the report, the man and his daughter went to the last known location of the vehicle according to OnStar. The man followed the suspect in spite of being told by Detroit Police dispatch to stop the pursuit. The suspect stopped the car and fled the scene. The man found his credit cards inside the vehicle, but the suspect took the keys. The woman was later identified by the victim. Police followed up but were unable to locate her.
On June 19, 2018 Police were called due to a suspicious woman knocking on motel room doors looking for property. The suspect left before police arrived.
On June 20, 2018 A resident of Motorama was found lying unconscious in an alley on W. 9 Mile. The woman was known to officers and had a history of detox hospitalizations, and her breath had the odor of intoxicants. Ferndale Fire Department was also contacted, who transported her to the hospital.
On July 5, 2018 Officers were dispatched to Room 125 based on a caller that reported multiple men coming out of the room with guns. Officers made contact with the lone occupant of the room who said he was alone and sleeping.
On July 7, 2018 Officers responded to a customer trouble call. A woman was trying to rent a room without identification. She was denied a room and refused to leave. Police arrived and she left without further incident.
On July 7, 2018 Police received a call for vagrancy. Police were unable to locate the suspect.
On July 19, 2018 A guest contacted police after hearing an argument happening in Room 206. When police arrived they could hear yelling and banging from outside the room. A female in the room stated that the man threatened her and their child with a knife. An 8 inch knife with a three inch blade was found under the bed. The couple’s 1 year old daughter was also in the room. The woman showed police scars and stated that the man had cut her before. The man was arrested for domestic assault.
On Aug. 1, 2018 A woman called the police in fear that she would be jumped in the parking lot. Police were unable to find any suspicious people. They escorted the caller to her vehicle.
On Aug. 1, 2018 Police were called to assist Ferndale Fire Department with a medical run involving a woman who needed assistance getting into her wheelchair. No further treatment or transport was needed.
On Aug. 2, 2018 Officers arrived at Motorama to assist the Ferndale Fire Department with a medical call for a man with an injured knee.
On Aug. 2, 2018 An Officer doing routine patrol in the Motorama parking lot noticed a vehicle registered to a man with an outstanding warrant from the 43rd District Court for driving with license suspended. The man was arrested without incident.
On Aug. 5, 2018 Officers were sent to assist on a medical run by Ferndale Fire Department.
On Aug. 6, 2018 there was a call to dispatch for customer trouble, however the call was cancelled before officers were dispatched.
On Aug. 14, 2018 a man staying in Room 121 called for police assistance in removing a man from his room. The caller said that he had a disagreement with a man who he sometimes let into his room to shower. The caller said everything was okay but that he just wanted the man to leave. The man was gone when police arrived. They searched the area, but could not locate him.
On Aug. 17, 2018 Officers were called to Room 127 to assist Ferndale Fire Department with a medical transport. The female victim stated that she had been assaulted two days before on 7 Mile in Detroit. She was taken to the hospital.
On Aug. 20, 2018 An officer observed a vehicle change lanes in the intersection. The vehicle entered the Motorama parking lot and the officer initiated a traffic stop. The driver stated she had been staying at the Motorama for three weeks. The woman was found to have had a license that has been suspended 17 times and two traffic warrants out of Highland Park. She also had 3.6 grams of marijuana in the car. The woman was arrested and the vehicle impounded.
On Aug. 23, 2018 Officers were called to Motorama on a report of possible domestic assault. A resident of one room stated he witnessed a physical altercation between a man and woman staying in Room 231. The altercation took place in the parking lot. The witness said the man hit and choked the woman. The man had left the scene. Police interviewed the victim who said that the man had pulled out two of her braids. She told an officer that the man left when she threw a hand-held vacuum cleaner at him. When police tried to get more information, the victim refused to cooperate. The man was pulled over nearby and appeared to be calm. He stated that he had heard a couple fighting and left, and that it was not him. No arrests were made.
On Aug. 23, 2018 Officers were called to Room 120 on a domestic assault complaint. The victim stated that her boyfriend has punched her in the face during a fight and left. The man returned to the room half an hour later and was arrested for domestic violence and marijuana possession.
On Aug. 24, 2018 Officers were dispatched to Motorama on a report of a woman smashing a car windshield. The woman was a guest in Room 127 with her boyfriend. The boyfriend said they had been arguing over “personal issues” when the woman began striking his windshield. When police arrived the woman was in room 127 damaging the microwave with a pair of pliers. When police attempted to handcuff the woman she began screaming and resisting. During the struggle, one of the officers received a cut on his arm. The suspect was not injured.
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Police Reports Show Crime at Motorama Motel as Legal Battle Continues