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Motel Owner Charged With Kidnapping After Standoff

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(credit: Washington County Sheriff's Office)

(credit: Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A convicted sex offender who runs a Newport motel has been charged with kidnapping a girl, after a six-hour police standoff Sunday night.

Roger Berres, 48, has been charged with a felony count of kidnapping, which, if convicted, carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $35,000 fine. He is currently being held in Washington County Jail.

According to a criminal complaint, Berres, of Newport, kidnapped the child, who’s less than 13 years old, at the Sure Lock Motel at 1280 Hastings Ave.

Police say the girl’s mother woke up around 2 a.m. Sunday after hearing her daughter crying. She told police she found Berres straddling the girl, dressed in only blue jeans with no shirt or underwear, with his pants unzipped.

According to the complaint, the woman grabbed Berres but he turned and elbowed her in the mouth, splitting her lip.

The woman said she tried to call for help but Berres grabbed the phone away. He then allegedly grabbed the woman, shoved her to the back of the residence and threw her out the back door.

The complaint states that Berres then locked the door and refused to let the woman back in. He was allegedly locked inside the apartment with the young girl until approximately 10 a.m. when she was released back to her mother.

The girl told her mother that while locked inside with Berres, he touched her inappropriately and kissed her on the lips.

This isn’t the first time Berres has had a run-in with the law, either. 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.

Police said Berres locked himself inside his place and wouldn’t come out.

Berres finally gave up just before midnight.

A decade ago, Berres went to jail for a similar crime against a child, yet he’s still allowed to manage the motel.

Some of the people staying at the motel are residents while others are only renting for a few days. Dawn Ruiz, who has been renting a room while on vacation, 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, on Monday.

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