Keeping drugs out: Community campaigning to shut down Waterbury motel

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Outside the Big Apple Motel on West Main Street, News 8 met a woman who did not want to be identified. When asked why she was there, she gave a surprising answer.

She said she was looking for her loved one who was missing.

“He’s an addict, and this is where they seem to gravitate,” she explained. “This is what I’ve learned from coming here trying to find him out of desperation to get him some help.”

Her situation is not surprising to Waterbury resident Ronae Mason-Craig, who said her friend was found in that motel last year.

“He overdosed and died there,” Mason-Craig said. “He wasn’t from Waterbury but he knew enough that if he went down to that motel that he could get drugs there.”

Stories like these have motivated Mason-Craig to launch an aggressive community campaign on social media to shut down the motel. Her petition has more than 1,000 signatures — and counting.

“We won’t allow that anymore,” she said. “We want to crush The Apple.”

Waterbury police told News 8 since December of 2015, they’ve had 743 calls to the motel. They’ve made 50 arrests for things like illegal drug violations, larceny, assaults and weapons violations.

A man who claimed to be the owner of the motel told News 8 by phone they are trying to keep the “bad people” out and they maintain communication with the police department.

As for Mason-Craig, she and a community group called “The Ungroup Society” pledge to keep up the pressure for something to be done.

“I want to see Waterbury restored and clean,” she said.

They also offer assistance to the woman who’s still looking for her loved one.

“My prayers are with her,” Mason-Craig said.

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