When a stable home for Registered persons closed, why are people surprised that the result is homelessness? Are people really so stupid to believe that residency laws don't negatively impact their precious registry? No home means no monitoring. I'm sure that "building code" crap was a convenient excuse for shutting down the hotel.
Vann Thomas Motel closed, registered sex offenders forced out
Posted: Thursday, February 5, 2015 6:48 pm | Updated: 8:41 pm, Thu Feb 5, 2015.
by Eddie Burkhalter
The state Fire Marshal's Office has forced the closure of the Vann Thomas Motel in Anniston, according to the owner’s son.
That means the registered sex offenders who had lived there are now scattered across the area, said Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson.
Amerson said as of Thursday afternoon 11 registered sex offenders who had lived at the motel, located at 3002 McClellan Blvd., had reported to the Sheriff's Office that they would have to move. Registered sex offenders are required by law to report when they relocate.
“The issue for us is, they don’t have a place to go, and so we’re going to have a group who are essential homeless at least for a short term,” Amerson said.
Asked what the offenders will be required to do by law after leaving the motel, Amerson said the law allows for them to be homeless, but they must check in each week and report where they are living, whether that be under a bridge or elsewhere, he said.
Bill Wilkens Jr., standing outside his father’s motel Thursday, said an inspector from the state Fire Marshal's Office came to the motel Jan. 29 and informed him the business would have three days to close.
“The building wasn’t up to code,” Wilkens said was the reason the state inspector gave him for the closure. Wilkens said it was an old building, adding, “Of course it’s not going to be up to code.”
Attempts to reach the state Fire Marshal’s Office Thursday were unsuccessful.
Wilkens said 26 people who were staying at the hotel had to leave. Most had done so by Thursday, but one couple loaded garbage bags of belongings into a Ford truck as Wilkens talked to a reporter outside the motel. Most had already left, he said.
A sheriff’s deputy who is responsible for helping keep track of the county’s registered sex offenders came to the motel Thursday to ask Wilkens where the offenders who had lived there had moved, and Wilkens said he told the deputy “I don’t know.”
“The police department used to bring people up here, because they’d know where they are,” Wilkens said. “We’ve got some good managers here and they know who’s who and what they’ve done. They’ll report a problem.”
“This isn’t the Hilton,” Wilkens said. “But it serves a need. Now you’ve got people that are homeless. Have no place to go. One guy told me he was going to be living in his truck."