SOUTH BEND, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has learned that City Clerk Candidate Tina Wilson (R) stopped an alleged attempted burglary at her home as two men attempted to break into her house Monday morning. The incident happened around 7:45am as she was loading her children into her car to take them to school. One of the attempted burglars ran off while she held another at gunpoint until police arrived.
“I noticed someone was coming from my window on the side of my house.” Wilson said. “I rolled my window down, blow (my horn) at him and said ‘hey, what’s going on?… Obviously you don’t belong here.'”
Wilson tells RNM the man started to then go toward the back of her house. She then got out of her car with her pistol to confront the man who was obviously trying to break into her home. She did not have her weapon drawn at the time. However, man took off running and was able to get away. Then, while looking around, she found another man hiding in her bushes, that’s when she pulled out her gun.
“I have my gun drawn and I’m like, ‘Get out! Get out!'” Wilson said. “He comes out and I say, ‘Stay still,’ and I direct my son to call the police.”
Wilson had her 14-year-old child call the police as her 7-year-old child took refuge in their locked car. According to Wilson, it took responding officers 13 minutes to get to her home. The entire time she was holding the suspect at gunpoint.
“Once the police got there they’re like ‘Oh, it’s probably another guy from the Motel. It looks like it.'” Wilson said
It turns out, the man who was attempting to break into her home, has been staying at the Motels 4 Now location at the old Knights Inn on Lincoln Way West, which is just across the street from her home.
“(The police) told me how they deal with this a lot, with the people from over there… it just seemed like they were used to the activity. Well, I’m not. And, this is my home where I have to protect my children.” Wilson said. “If y’all know this keeps happening, who is going to do something about it?”
According to Wilson, the police got the man’s ID then simply let him go, directing him back to Motel’s 4 Now with a simple trespassing warning.
However, this isn’t the first time she’s had problems. She’s had people from the motel camping in her yard. She’s had them doing drugs in her yard. She’s also found a used condom on her property. Her shed has also been broken into multiple times.
“I had a man fighting an imaginary person with a crowbar in my backyard before.” Wilson explained.
HOTBED FOR CRIME
Wilson is not alone when it comes to being victimized by crime at the hands of the Motels 4 Now program. In January, RNM published an investigative story regarding the “low barrier” facility that has been the scene of countless drug overdoses, thefts and batteries, while purporting to be helping those most in need in our community. “Low barrier” means there are essentially no rules for being admitted and housed, allowing drugs and crime to run rampant. A public records request by REAL News Michiana discovered police were called to the Motels 4 Now program more than 1,000 times since opening in 2020. Police responded 250 times from December of 2021 through December of 2022. The calls include everything from stabbings to overdoses, sexual assaults and thefts.
While a large number of the calls (42) from the past year were for reporting “Unwanted Persons,” it is apparent crime is a major problem with the program located at the old Knights Inn on Lincolnway West in South Bend. Below is a breakdown of some of the highlights.
Assault: 17 Calls
Theft: 15 Calls
Disturbance: 15 Calls
Overdose: 14 Calls
Threat: 10 Calls
Suspicious Activity: 8 Calls
Fighting: 4 Calls
Burglary: 3 Calls
Weapons: 3 Calls
Shots Fired: 3 Calls
Harassment: 3 Calls
Vandalism: 2 Calls
Stabbing: 1 Call
Sex Assault: 1 Call
Drugs: 1 Call
According to publicly available records, 58-year-old Kevin Taylor died from a cocaine overdose at Motels4Now on January 29th of this year. Only 4 days later, RNM confirmed another man who “graduated” from the Motels4Now program died from a suspected overdose while living in another transitional home.
It also turns out, the taxpayer is footing the bill for this nuisance property at the tune of millions of dollars. Through the end of 2021, the program received $2,076,514 from St. Joseph County. In 2022, the property owner received $268,975 in taxpayer dollars from the county himself. And, that’s not including emergency rental assistance that has been paid out at taxpayer expense.
In a typical circumstance, a property like this would be considered a “nuisance property” facing several costly fines with the potential of being shut down. It’s unclear if any fines have been levied against the Motels 4 Now program or the property owner. RNM has requested that information and is waiting for it to be provided.
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