GREENWOOD — A Greenwood man has reached an agreement to avoid prosecution after admitting to entering another hotel guest’s room and taking her credit cards in March 2022.
On Wednesday, a Johnson County judge accepted a pretrial diversion agreement for Kenneth Speech.
As part of the agreement, Speech admitted to Criminal Conversion, a misdemeanor, and agreed to pay a $454 diversion fee.
Speech must also contact a diversion coordinator within two weeks of signing the agreement and must notify the coordinator of any change of address or subsequent arrest or criminal charges.
The court set a compliance hearing for August 30, 2023 and if Speech has successfully complied with the terms of the diversion agreement, prosecutors will dismiss the charge.
"That is outrageous," said Nina Alonzo Ochoa, a Fort Wayne mother who called Greenwood Police to the Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites after what she calls a scary encounter with Kenneth Speech. "The system is made for men to get away with these things and belittle women's right to safety and privacy."
Ochoa came to Greenwood the weekend of March 19 to shop at the outlet malls and the Greenwood Park Mall.
“I was coming to look for my daughter's Michael Kors purse that she wanted for her 17th birthday,” Ochoa said.
Ochoa said the shopping took longer than expected, and she and her friend needed a hotel for the night.
Ochoa says she left her purse and another bag in the room and went to Walmart with her friend.
“I went back up to my room and as I open the door, I saw a man just standing there,” Ochoa said. “I closed the door back up and said 'there's a guy in our room'. I was like I have to go in, he's going through my belongings."
Ochoa went into the room and looked in her wallet.
“There was no credit cards, no debit cards, all of my cards were gone,” Ochoa said. “I was startled. I really didn't know what to do."
Ochoa notified the front desk and called 911.
Greenwood police responded and questioned the suspect, Kenneth Speech, about her credit cards, records show.
“I did mention to the police officer that he was rumbling around in the bathroom," Ochoa said.
According to a probable cause affidavit signed by a police officer, “Kenneth stood on the bathroom counter, moved a ceiling tile and pulled a stack of credit cards from the northeast area of the ceiling. Kenneth then handed the cards to me."
Records show the officer interviewed a hotel employee who stated she “accidentally doubled booked the room.”
On April 6, Johnson County prosecutors charged Kenneth Speech with conversion.
He failed to appear for a May 2 hearing in Johnson County Superior Court 3, and the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
WRTV reached Speech via phone after the hearing and he said he was unaware of the criminal charge.
WRTV has uncovered a disturbing trend— police runs are on the rise to the Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites, 1117 E. Main St.
WRTV found Greenwood Police had 75 calls to the hotel in 2019, 109 in 2020, 165 calls in 2021, and so far this year—46 calls.
GREENWOOD POLICE RESPONSE TO RED CARPET INN
- 2019—75 calls, 20 criminal offenses
- 2020- 109 calls, 14 criminal offenses
- 2021- 165 calls, 35 criminal offenses
- 2022- 46 calls, 14 criminal offenses
“The calls are mostly drug-related, but you also get robberies, fights, stabbings, shootings and overdoses,” Greenwood Police Department Assistant Chief Matt Fillenwarth said. “It’s been a nuisance for a while.”
After Ochoa spoke with WRTV last month, she stopped by the Red Carpet Inn and reminded them she was still due a refund.
Days later, Ochoa said she did get her money back for her hotel reservation.
She says she’s sharing her story in the hopes of prompting the Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites to improve its safety procedures.
"The security, the cleanliness of the hotel, it definitely needs to be well kept," Ochoa said.