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Damage is standoff's aftermath at motel

August 24, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HANCOCK - When a 45-hour hostage scare was defused Friday at Americas Best Value Inn in Hancock, motel owners Dave and Sweta Desai were left with six damaged rooms and one significant question.

Who will pay?

Dave Desai said the couple was told the state won't reimburse them, so he's hoping his insurance will.

In Room 115, where James A. Prevatt III and Rene Reynolds stayed, the front screen door was pulled from its frame as police rushed to grab Prevatt, who had kept police at bay while threatening to kill his girlfriend and set off bombs.

Desai said a side window was broken and explosives were used to blow off the back door, even though he gave police the key.

In nearby rooms, where police officers had waited out and monitored Prevatt, there was other damage. Wood paneling was stripped. Two large holes were made in a bathroom wall. Furniture was askew.

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Desai said police left rooms littered with food and drink containers.

The Desais have owned the motel a little more than three years.

During the standoff, they stayed in their home, a separate building that serves as a motel office and lobby. It doubled as a refuge for guests evacuated from their rooms.

They said there was plenty of commotion and confusion as various law enforcement agencies came through the building and needed their help. Sweta Desai said she was asked to draw the layout of Room 115 three separate times.

Prevatt and Reynolds also stayed at the motel for about five days in July, the Desais said.

"They seemed like a perfect couple," Dave Desai said.

So when they heard that Prevatt was making threats about Reynolds and calling her a hostage, "we didn't believe it," Sweta Desai said.

However, when police first arrived, Dave Desai said, Prevatt called the front desk and demanded that officers leave.

Desai said he encouraged Prevatt to step out and tell them, but Prevatt called the desk back and said something like, "If you don't tell them, I'm going to kill someone. She's pregnant."

The Desais are looking forward to a return to quieter times.

"In Hancock, the only crime is teenagers breaking into soda machines," Dave Desai said.

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