Motel Owner Nabbed - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Motel Owner Nabbed

By Al Pefley  email

Boynton Beach, FL (WFLX)

Investigators say a Boynton Beach motel was a safe haven for prostitutes and drug users.

After a two month undercover operation, an arrest. 

"Well, I think it's about time that they're cleaning up the area," said Jon Snowden, owner of Jo-Al's Restaurant on South Federal Highway.

Snowden's family has run  Jo-Al's Restaurant for more than 40 years. And he's pleased  to see the Atlantic Lodge motel owner behind bars, because he says the place next door drew the wrong crowd. Police say the owner allowed hookers and drug users to stay there, and also hired them to go out and steal for him.

One of the waitresses here feels the arrest is a step in the right direction.

"We hope that a lot of our regular customers that've been coming here for years since I was a kid will start coming back because they'll feel safer, " said April Burns, a waitress at Jo-Al's.

Police have charged the motel owner, Ryszard Swierszcz, 63,  with 13 counts of directing and dealing in stolen property.   Among the items police recovered, a shotgun, a power saw and a nail gun, still in the original boxes.

They say he hired motel customers to steal merchandise from Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Walgreens, and then they would return the stolen goods and exchange them for store return credit cards which they gave to Swierszcz.

"The way he was kinda running it, I wouldn't say it was a well-oiled machine because he was found out, but he definitely had a system and routine going," said Boynton Beach Police Sgt. Joe DeGiulio.

When we tried to reach someone at the motel for comment, the office was locked and there was no one around.

The motel is right across the street from a city park, Jaycee Park,  where parents like to bring their kids. 

"It is disgusting because we play here and our kids play here, so it's very close," said Katherine Fariello, a mother of two little girls from Delray Beach. 

Police say even though the owner is under arrest, the Atlantic Lodge motel on South Federal Highway is still open for business.

But they'll try to seize the motel through a forfeiture process, because it was being used to conduct criminal activity.  That process could take several months.   Police say Swierszcz, who is from Poland, is also under investigation by immigration officials. 

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