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Newark considering closing “crime-plagued” motel

The motel’s co-owner says reports of crime are overblown, but Newark leaders and police say it’s been a chronic problem. The Planning Commission will consider the issue Wednesday night. 

NEWARK — As a crime-plagued motel continues straining limited police resources, city leaders are taking steps to shut it down.

While the motel’s co-owner says reports of crime at the E-Z 8 Motel have been overblown, city staffers describe it as a haven for gangsters and other criminals. The Newark Planning Commission has scheduled a special meeting Wednesday to consider putting it out of business.

“The operation of this motel is injurious and detrimental to the public health,” City Attorney David Benoun said Friday. “It’s in the interest of our citizens that this issue be addressed.”

Motel co-owner Jerry Cannon says the city’s accusations are untrue and that crime at the Newark motel has dropped significantly since 2010.

“We think it’s a safe place to stay,” Cannon said in a phone interview. “We have been communicating with the city as recently as Friday afternoon, and we’re confident we can reach an agreement before the commission’s meeting.

City staffers paint a different picture of the 141-room motel at 5555 Cedar Court, next to Interstate 880 and Cedar Boulevard.

The motel has seen serious crimes, including murder, sexual assault, gang violence, arson, prostitution and vandalism, police said. It also has been a hotbed of illegal street drug use and sales, police said.

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Chris DeBenedetti