OZARK, AL (WSFA) - Ozark police say they have identified some people of interest but hope the public can help them find the person linked to crimes at a local hotel.
Police believe the suspect is linked to incidents at the Microtel Inn and Suites off Highway 231 in Ozark. The most recent was an attempted armed robbery on New Year's Eve around 9:45 p.m. Police say the suspect went into the hotel through the front door and encountered the front desk clerk as he was searching for money.
The clerk fired a shot at the suspect, and the suspect shot back. Neither was injured. The suspect ran out the side door of the building, according to police.
Police don't have much of a description but say the suspect was described as a male, between 5'11 and 6'1, wearing a black shirt, pants, mask and gloves.
They believe the man is linked to an armed robbery at the same hotel on Dec. 4. The manager of the hotel confirms the suspect got away with $200 in that incident. Police say based on the way the suspect operates - coming through the front door to commit the crime, approaching the front desk and his all black attire - they believe it is the same individual.
Ozark Police Chief Marlos Walker said he believes this is an isolated incident, and the hotel was targeted.
"I think the biggest thing to the hotel is its location. That time of night, in that area around there – I think the suspect is taking advantage of having 1 individual there they can deal with in an isolated area," Walker said.
Representatives at the Hampton Inn a mile away from the Microtel Inn and Suites say the recent crimes are concerning, but they do still feel safe. A hotel employee says they keep many of the doors to the building locked as a safety precaution. Since the incidents, they have requested more night patrols by police.
Ozark police confirm they have increased patrols in all areas, particularly near the Microtel Inn and Suites.
The managers at the Microtel Inn and Suites didn't want to go on camera but did release a statement:
"Security and safety of our guests is of the utmost importance and we are taking precautionary measures to ensure that," said Assistant Manager Pam Stewart.
Ozark police are asking anyone with information to contact the police department at 334-774-2644 or 334-774-5111.