SOUTH BEND, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has learned vandals slashed the tires of multiple cars belonging to Republican Candidate for South Bend’s Common Council District 2, Roosevelt Stewart. While it’s unclear who committed the vandalism, the crimes come after Stewart has received threats and condemnation from multiple Democrats and community members for running on the Republican ticket in the historically Democrat district.
“People have been upset.” Stewart told RNM. “I’ve been threatened while knocking on doors. People are upset about the message regarding working with police and stopping the crime (on the westside of town).”
Stewart tells RNM he has also received condemnation from religious leaders in the community for his political affiliation.
“There was a church where I was invited to speak. As soon as they found out I was running as a Republican, that invite was revoked.” He said.
According to Stewart, the vandals slashed the tires on 6 vehicles belonging to him and his family sometime between Sunday night and early Monday morning. They hit his wife’s car, his daughter’s car, his personal vehicles and vehicles used for his business and non-profit work. In total, 10 tires appeared to have been cut using a knife. He tells RNM he has never had any issues or problems with people in the community in the past.
“This is going to drastically impact my work, campaign and non-profit work.” Stewart said.
Stewart is the founder and operator of a non-profit called Youth With a Vision and Passion in which he teaches area youth skilled trades. He is a carpenter by trade, but also has an electrician and plumber who assist in the non-profit. He recently purchased an 11,000 square foot facility to expand their operations. The purpose is to teach children how to make money with a legitimate job instead of turning to crime.
You can learn more about Stewart and donate to his campaign by visiting Roosevelt4SouthBend.com.
OTHER REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES TARGETED BY CRIME
In May, Republican Candidate for South Bend City Clerk Tina Wilson stopped an attempted burglary at her home. The St. Joseph County Democrat Party then used its newsletter to attack the single mother who lives on the west side of town, while defending the criminals who were trespassing on her property. During the incident, Wilson held one of the attempted burglars at gunpoint while her 7-year-old child hid inside of her car. The men involved in the criminal activity live at the old Knights Inn on Lincoln Way West and are part of the Motels 4 Now program, which has been a hotbed from crime in the region.
The Democrat Party claimed the incident was just a homeless man who was taking a rest on the sidewalk.
“The St. Joe County Republicans held a press conference to applaud Trina (sic) Wilson, Republican candidate for South Bend City Clerk for holding an unarmed homeless man at gunpoint for resting in her yard?” The newsletter reads. “Ms. Wilson first lied to Real News Michiana, when she originally said that she stopped a burglary. What’s the truth, guy resting on sidewalk because of a medical condition or did he try to break in to her house?. If he did, why wasn’t he arrested instead of just given a warning about trespassing? Fake News!!”
The incident happened around 7:45am as Wilson 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, the 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 (teenaged) 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. Only a few hours later, police were called for a man from the Motels 4 Now program walking through the neighborhood carrying a machete and handcuffs.
This isn’t the first time Wilson’s had problems stemming from Motels 4 Now. 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.
DEMOCRATS TURN THEIR ATTENTION TO ATTACKING REPUBLICAN MOMS
The St. Joseph County Democrat Party seems to be focusing their political attacks on Republican women, specifically mothers. Earlier this year, St. Joseph County Democrat Party Vice Chair Don Westerhausen and his wife partnered up with a convicted violent felon and twice arrested child molester to harass and intimidate a mother and her 7 children outside of her home. Westerhausen’s wife even hugged the career criminal during the demonstration outside of County Councilwoman Amy Drake’s Granger house.
The event, which was organized by the St. Joseph County Democrat Party in partnership with the South Bend NAACP and Justice for Michiana, occurred at 6:30 in the morning as Drake would be preparing to get her children ready for school. The small crowd, which included the violent felon/child molester, even temporarily blocked access of a school bus that was in the neighborhood to pick up children.
Justice for Michiana is founded, owned and operated by career criminal Vernado Malone. Malone stood in front of the crowd with NAACP President Trina Robinson to address the media regarding their intentions for their intimidating and threatening demonstration. While WSBT and ABC57 were both there to cover the demonstration, REAL News Michiana was the only news outlet to ask a single question regarding the intimidation tactics using a career felon.
Malone has been in and out of prison for his entire adult life. In St. Joseph County alone, he’s been arrested for Child Molestation twice, Domestic Battery 7 times, Criminal Trespassing 3 times, Battery twice, Illegal Use of a Police Radio, Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, Criminal Mischief twice, Forgery and Theft. He’s currently attempting to have that criminal history expunged.
Malone also has a lengthy federal criminal history, which includes stealing approximately $100,000 from the American Red Cross.
In 1999, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for credit card fraud. He was ordered to pay more than $17,000 in restitution.
In 2005, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Aiding and Abetting Forfeiture Allegation. He was ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution.
In 2015, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for Mail Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. He was ordered to pay more than $50,000 in restitution.
Malone currently has multiple protection orders against him as well. In fact, he was arrested earlier this year for violating one of those protection orders held by a woman who works in the County City Building.
While there are currently two active protection orders against him, there have been a total of 7 protection orders held by women to protect themselves and their families from Malone dating back to 2013.
Malone is also currently under investigation by the Indiana Attorney General regarding a scheme in which he took and shared hundreds of pictures of nude bodies of the recently deceased. His non-profit, Justice for Michiana, was originally founded to allegedly help the families of homicide victims with funeral costs. Multiple families filed lawsuits against Malone, Justice for Michiana and his partner funeral home, Alford’s Mortuary. Alford’s Mortuary settled the case. It is still open and active against Malone.
Malone has also used his non-profit to attempt to coerce women into having sex with him. On two different occasions, he has pressured single mothers in need for sexual favors in return for assistance from Justice for Michiana.
WESTERHAUSEN AND THE DEMOCRAT ACTIVISTS
St. Joseph County Democrat Party Vice Chair Don Westerhausen stood behind Malone and NAACP President Trina Robinson during the demonstration. Westerhausen attempted to hide his face with a sign. However, RNM managed to get a picture of him. RNM also got video of Westerhausen’s wife hugging the felon.
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