Woodbury residents call for closure of Red Roof Inn - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Woodbury residents call for closure of Red Roof Inn

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The Red Roof Inn was the scene of a hostage standoff that turned fatal on Friday, but that's hardly its first run-in with trouble -- and many residents say they want the motel shut down.

FOX 9 News learned there is currently an ongoing investigation into teen prostitution at the motel, and charges are expected soon. In fact, the wife of the detective handling that case is at the helm of the crusade to close the doors of the Red Roof Inn once and for all.

Crews are still repairing damage to the room that was the scene of a deadly, four-hour standoff at the motel, located off Interstate 494 in Woodbury -- but repairing the motel's reputation won't be so easy.

"It's definitely attracting the wrong kind of people for Woodbury," Melanie Snyder told FOX 9 News.

Snyder's husband is an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, and after he began investigating teen prostitution cases at the motel, she began doing digging of her own. In the process, she found police were called to the Red Roof Inn more than 290 times last year.

"I was naive [to think] things like this don't happen in my city," she said. "They do."

Many of the police calls were about noise, but there were also five reports of prostitution, 14 cases of domestic disputes and 10 drug-related cases, including the one involving a teenager who was "tweeking on meth" last month.

Then there's concern over the clientele. A total of 28 people have been arrested on warrants at the motel.

Other hotels in Woodbury -- like Hampton, Holiday Inn and Sheraton -- had only a couple of police calls. Country Inn saw 27 police calls in 2011.

There are a few things that invite trouble at the Red Roof Inn, and one is the exterior door. Another factor is the price because at $48.99 a night, you can pay cash and no credit card is needed.

FOX 9 News attempted to contact management at the Red Roof Inn, but instead, they released a statement from their public relations firm.

"The vast majority of police calls for service were routine or informational in nature," the statement read in part. "Red Roof will continue to always put guest and employee safety first."

Snyder said the city isn't much better at stepping in.

"Their response is there's nothing they can do about it because of the area it's zoned in," she said.

Woodbury echoed that message in a statement as well.

"Many people think the city has broad power when it comes to regulating businesses within our community," the statement read. "In reality, our authority is limited."

Yet, the biggest statement of all was made last Friday when SWAT officers swarmed the motel for hours while an armed man held almost a dozen people hostage inside a room there. Criminal charges from that case allege Demetrius Ballinger raped four young girls in that room during the standoff. Woodbury police also shot and killed a 19-year-old hostage who attempted to flee.

Now, Snyder and several of her neighbors say enough is enough, calling the motel a public nuisance; however, the city says that particular area is zoned for an industrial park. They argue that the motel fits into that zoning and is law-abiding.

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