(Photo: ABC 24 News)
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis police and the District Attorney's office shut down seven hotels Friday, declaring them a public nuisance.
"We have been there for 3 days and there was no problem I didn't see none of that," said Kawanda Jones, a guest at Summer Motel, one of the seven motels raided.
Investigators say the hotels were illegally charging hourly room rates to facilitate prostitution, and officers were called to the hotels for a barrage of offenses.
Investigators say the hotels were illegally charging hourly room rates to facilitate prostitution, and officers were called to the hotels for a barrage of offenses. Between July 2011 and March 2013, police responded to incidents of rape, sodomy, robbery, aggravated assault, and numerous other crimes.
"I be at work everyday, I just come and get a room, then I leave," said Michael Conwell, a guest at Summer Motel.
According to Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich, the other six motels closed were:
Memphis Inn, 4879 American Way
Southeast Motel, 3466 Lamar Avenue
Bellevue Inn, 1250 South Bellevue
Rainbow Inn, 640 Breedlove
Airways Inn, 2375 Airways
Deluxe Inn Motel, 3733 Jackson
"Business owners who encourage and allow criminal activity must be held accountable," said Weirich. "We are not going to sit back and allow them to make a profit at the expense of public safety."
"During the investigation, detectives posed as customers of the motels and rented rooms by the hour from employees at each location," Memphis Police wrote in a statement. "Between March 22, 2013 and April 7, 2013, Detectives rented rooms at an hourly rate on multiple occasions for as little as $20.00."
Tyrone Dowdy is a local boxer who knows Binghampton well. He said he welcomed MPD's prostitution sweep so he could concentrate on his upcoming boxing match.
"Pretty much help keep my focus, keeping my eyes off temptation, that's how I see it," he said.
A woman at one motel told abc24.com that her motel had not been shut down, and was only closed for remodeling.
The owners of all seven motels are due in environmental court on Tuesday.
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