GREENWOOD— WRTV Investigates is digging into hotel safety concerns after an Indiana mother says she had a scary encounter during a recent visit to Greenwood.
WRTV has uncovered a disturbing trend— police runs are on the rise to the Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites, 1117 E. Main St.
“It's not a safe place to be,” Fort Wayne mother Nina Alonzo Ochoa saod. “It's not."
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.”
Greenwood police shared body camera footage example of a recent call to the hotel for an overdose.
“Is this what you shot up? Meth and fentanyl mixed together?” asked the Greenwood police officer on body camera. “Are you trying to kill yourself? That’s a bad idea.”
The hotel guest survived.
Nina Alonzo Ochoa said she called Greenwood Police to the Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites after what she calls a scary encounter.
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.
Not realizing Indianapolis was hosting the NCAA tournament, Ochoa had few options in terms of lodging.
“There was no hotel availability anywhere,” Ochoa said.
So, she booked a room at the Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites and checked in.
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.
Fillenwarth says for a city of 65,000 people, 165 runs to one hotel in a year is a lot.
“It’s just draining on your resources,” Fillenwarth said. “The officers are not able to do their other duties in the city. If they're getting tied up with overdoses, death investigations, warrant arrests, people fighting, that all takes away from your resources like we've got three accidents over here."
The city ordinance says a hotel’s license can be revoked if the calls for service ratio is at or above two calls per room a year, but Fillenwarth says the Red Carpet Inn has yet to reach that threshold, and efforts to change the ordinance have stalled.
Greenwood police say they do what they can to protect the public by doing saturation patrols in and around the hotel.
“You can't do that aggressive patrolling every day,” Fillenwarth said. “Every time we do it we end up with a huge amount of guns, drugs and arrests for a night's worth of work."
WRTV Investigates did some checking and found the hotel is registered with the state under the name “Lodging & Trade LLC” and the general manager is listed as Ahmed Mubarak.
We reached out via email to set up a time to meet to talk about Ochoa’s incident, the number of police runs and safety.
“At this time your request for an interview has been denied. All issues regarding this incident has been addressed with the parties involved. Thank you! Management,” the email sent by the hotel read.
WRTV Investigates stopped by the hotel on April 20.
As we walked up, an employee met WRTV Investigates outside.
WRTV asked to speak with the general manager and left a business card with the employee, but she said no one would be speaking with WRTV.
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.
HOTEL SAFETY TIPS
- Research the hotel before you book
- Know where the emergency exits are
- Lock up your valuables
- Don’t share your room number with anyone
- Leave the TV on in your room with do not disturb sign on
- Trust your gut