MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A convicted sex offender who runs a Newport motel was at the center of a police standoff that lasted more than six hours Sunday night.
Roger Berres, 48, is currently being held in Washington County Jail and faces charges of criminal sexual conduct, assault and kidnapping — all involving a child who’s less than 13-years-old. And this isn’t the first time Berres has been in trouble for assaulting children.
Berres’ criminal record includes traffic stops, burglarizing and drunk driving. He was also convicted of sexually assaulting a minor in 2001. Court records show he plead guilty to the charge in Ramsey County.
Berres manages the Sure-Lock Motel. He was in the process of purchasing the motel, according to Newport Police Chief Curt Montgomery.
When Newport Police officers went to talk with him Sunday about sexual assaulting a child around 5:30 p.m., he did not answer his door and did not answer his phone. It was the start of a standoff that lasted through Sunday evening, and it involved the Washington County SWAT Team.
“I’ve never been in a motel in my life. This is the first time, and I’ve never seen so much action,” said Dawn Ruiz, who has been renting a room while on vacation. She was looking for rest and relaxation, but what she got was drama and excitement for all the wrong reasons.
“I guess you don’t have to watch ‘Cops’ on regular TV when there’s all this action over here,” she said.
Police said Berres locked himself inside his place and wouldn’t come out.
“And as we were walking out, SWAT Team was everywhere,” said Heather Waits, who was at the motel. “Sharpshooters were on the ground. Scared the living daylights out of us.”
Berres finally gave up just before midnight. He was booked into jail on second-degree criminal sexual assault. Montgomery said there could be another victim, too, and the investigation is still active.
A decade ago, Berres went to jail for a similar crime against a child, yet he’s still allowed to manage the motel.
“There’s no state law that restricts a sex offender from running a motel or any other felon that I know of,” Montgomery said.
Some of the people staying at the motel are residents while others are only renting for a few days. Ruiz said she didn’t know that Berres had been convicted of sexual assaulting a child before. In fact, he’s not listed as a Level 3 Sex Offender by the Department of Corrections.
With Berres locked up, residents and guests said they’ll be sleeping better.
And some, like Ruiz, are sure looking for a chance to escape Sure-Lock motel for good.
“Yes, definitely I want to go home,” she said.