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Lawsuit alleges crime at Florence hotel impacts crime in the surrounding area, businesses

“These are calls of drug activity, of rape, of prostitution, of fights, of assault, drug overdoses, you name it,”
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 9:20 PM CDT
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FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - Drugs, prostitution, overdoses and more.

A lawsuit alleges these crimes are happening at a motel in Florence, and having a major impact on surrounding areas and businesses.

The District Attorney and the Chief of Police are calling Florence Inn and Suites a drug nuisance. A manager of the business right next door says the same thing.

It’s a place where guitarists come to find the perfect tune. The Sound Shoppe Manager, Tanner Triplett, said he doesn’t always have peace of mind because of the amount of crime in the area.

“Ranging from break-ins to people causing a scene, loitering outside,” said Triplett.

Just today, he filed a police report for someone trying to break in overnight.

“They ripped the lock out of the door, right there, so they tried to break that open,” said Triplett.

The district attorney’s office filed a lawsuit against the hotel right next door to the business.

The complaint alleges the Florence Inn and Suites on Florence Boulevard is a crime den and the owners aren’t doing anything about it. The lawsuit indicates crime at the hotel impacts crime in the surrounding area.

Triplett said he agrees.

“It’s always something. Here, back there, at the apartments over there. I find needles all over outside,” said Triplett.

Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler said officers are called to the area frequently.

“We’ve responded 878 times. That’s the bare minimum. That only represents the calls to this particular address. So I went back and ran a report and within a 500-foot radius of this location, 500 feet from 1915 Florence Blvd, in five years, we’ve responded to almost 2,000 calls there,” said Tyler.

Those crime calls run from drugs to robbery and even rape.

The lawsuit names Florence Hospitality LLC as the company responsible for the hotel.

Tyler said police have tried to resolve issues with management by educating them about what’s happening in the community and offering them solutions.

“The neighbors and the businesses around it are tired of it. So we’ve taken that enforcement piece and try to enforce the law and we’re tired of enforcing it with all of the drug crimes. The third thing that we’re doing which has led us here is engineering. So I’ve tried to do education, enforcement, and the third is engineering. We are trying to construct some sort of permanent solution, design some sort of permanent solution,” said Tyler.

District Attorney Chris Connolly is seeking a hearing to close the motel as soon as possible.

Triplett said that could affect what happens in the area.

“If there wasn’t such a hotel that was like that with all the drugs and all that stuff. It’ll be a lot better. I wouldn’t have to deal with all of that at all,” said Triplett.

WAFF reached out to the hotel for a comment on the lawsuit and was told no comment

The lawsuit is also asking for a civil penalty, asking the owners to pay $1,000 a day for each day the nuisance continues to exist.

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