Activities at ‘ramshackle’ motel concern neighbors

GUILDERLAND — The Pines Motel, at 2019 Western Ave. in Guilderland, backs up to a residential neighborhood “filled with children,” as one resident put it, causing concerns.

The single-story motel shares a one-acre property with the Western Diner and is located behind the diner.

“The place is very ramshackle,” said Laura Hammes, who has lived in the neighborhood behind the motel for 16 years. “Over the years, neighbors have been concerned.” 

Neighborhood children, Hammes said, are told not to ride their bikes on Seeley Drive because it backs up to the motel.

On June 8, residents stayed in their homes as police descended on the motel.

“It was a domestic incident with reports of shots fired inside,” said Curtis Cox, deputy chief of the Guilderland Police. After investigation, police concluded there was “no evidence of any gunshots,” Cox said.

“We took someone into custody without incident,” he said.

In such situations, he went on, “We have the safety of the neighbors and citizens in mind.”

Sometimes, police evacuate a neighborhood, Cox said, but evacuation was not needed in this case.

Cox said that, during the first few weeks of the shutdown in March to stem the spread of the coronavirus, there was not an uptick in domestic violence. “It seems to have increased in the last few weeks,” he said.

Cox said he was not aware of the hotel being a hotspot for crime. He noted that different people live at the hotel at different times.

According to Albany County assessment rolls, the 1.07-acre property, including both the diner and the motel, has a full-market value of $976,300, and is owned by Suzan J. Bojkovic. She could not be reached for comment.

Over the last 15 years, The Enterprise has published arrests of residents of the motel for charges including driving while intoxicated, petit larceny, robbery and grand larceny, and assault.

On March 31, 2014, the manager and a tenant of the motel, Joshua Bojkovic, was arrested for selling drugs out of the motel’s office. Four others were arrested at the same time on weapons and drugs charges.

Sheriff Craig Apple said at the time that his office had received a tip from an informant about suspicious activity at the motel and, over the course of three months, investigators watched the motel for signs of drug activity, and had an undercover informant make several controlled drug purchases.

The sheriff said he waited to execute a search warrant because he wanted to establish that the drug-related activity was ongoing, and not a one-time occurrence.

In total, during the 2014 raid, the sheriff’s office seized from the motel and the home of two of those arrested more than nine pounds of marijuana; nine-and-a-half ounces of powdered cocaine; six-and-a-half grams of MDMA, known as ecstasy; a small quantity of hash, concentrated cannabis; several Xanax pills; and three Glock semi-automatic handguns.

Also that day, members of the sheriff’s department found $5,000 in cash believed to be proceeds from illegal narcotic sales.

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