NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — Though it has not taken the option of disciplinary action, the Board of Selectmen on Monday asked the owner of the Motel 6 on Route 9 to prepare by year's end a written report of steps taken to curb a recent uptick in criminal incidents.
This past year, the motel has seen an alleged murder of a 19-year-old Worcester man, a double stabbing and several other disputes, prompting the Selectmen to consider suspending or revoking the owner's motel license.
Motel 6 owner Jayesh Patel told the Selectmen that he shared their concerns, and that he has been working with Police Chief Mark Leahy to address them.
"I'm not happy about what's happening at my property; I'll be the first one to tell you," Patel said. "I don't encourage bad behavior. That would put me out of business."
Patel's attorney, J. Robert Seder, said Patel sought out a meeting with Leahy and was already responding to many of the chief's recommendations.
The motel now requires a photocopy of an ID from each registered guest, and Patel is looking into purchasing a color photocopier for this purpose. Front desk employees are being told to ask more questions - especially of younger guests - and to call police if they encounter anyone suspicious. Desk employees have also been asked to collect more information about guests than just a first and last name, including their date of birth, address and vehicle information.
Seder said the motel is also working to address the exterior lighting, which is dark in certain areas. Patel, he said, also hopes to increase the number of surveillance cameras in the halls and is in contact with several security companies who may be able to do the installation.
"This is a family-run business," Seder said. "If there is violence, or incidents of questionable nature, this adversely affects [Patel's] business."
Patel said that many of his family members work at the motel, which makes the recent crimes personal to him. "The things that happened at my place could have happened to any of my family members," he said.
Following the alleged murder, Patel added, "I couldn't sleep for three days. I have a 19-year-old boy myself. I'm telling you, that was endless pain for me."
Leahy told the Selectmen that his meetings with Patel have been productive. "I have a very good feeling about where we're going," he said.
At Selectman Dawn Rand's suggestion, both Leahy and Patel said they would be open to discussing periodic police details at the motel. Leahy said police have already stepped up patrols outside the building.
Town Administrator John Coderre recommended that the Selectmen continue their hearing about the motel at their Jan. 14 meeting in order to give Patel time to make improvements and prepare a report on his progress.