WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The owners of six hotels and motels on Market Street received letters demanding they clean up their act or lose their property.
District Attorney Ben David announced on Dec. 7 the letters would be sent to establishments that had reached a "certain threshold" of criminal activity. The announcement came during a news conference updating on a deadly shooting at the Carolinian Inn Nov. 29.
The following locations' owners received letters on Dec. 11:
- America’s Best Value Inn – 2828 Market Street
- Budgetel Inn – 4903 Market Street
- Carolinian Inn – 2916 Market Street
- Ramada Inn – 5001 Market Street
- Red Roof Inn – 5107 Market Street
- Travelodge – 4118 Market Street
"What we're going to do is sit down and say this isn't personal, it's just business. Here's the data, how can we have a plan moving forward that's going to clean this up," David said. "And so we want to work with these motel and hotel owners. We're not declaring war on them, we're declaring war on the heroin and the human trafficking and the violent crimes going on in those places."
The letters state the Wilmington Police Department in the last five years, "has repeatedly responded to calls for service at [the establishment]," which include prostitution, assaults, fights, discharging of firearms and the illegal sale of controlled substances.
"When we're talking about this corridor which is the busiest in our community, it's a problem that's hiding in plain sight. It's something that's not acceptable as we drive down the street," David said. "To see people that are clearly impaired wondering out onto the street curbs. To see people engaged in things like prostitution, clearly committing the law in open day light."
The letter also serves as a notice to the owner that possible penalties for not taking "corrective action" immediately include forfeiture or court ordered closure of the property, permanent restrictions on the use of the property, civil fines, accounting, liens and invalidation of leases.