A man is behind bars after a rash of car break-ins at several hotels in Athens.
Police say William Clark was spotted in a hotel parking lot on Highway 72 after stealing thousands of dollars worth of tools over the weekend.
WAAY 31 spoke with one man who stayed in two different hotels in Athens and had the same trailer broken into at both hotels. He didn't want to go on camera, but other travelers said they were surprised to hear that something like this would happen in Athens.
“I just can’t believe that, because this is such a safe area. This is our stopping point," said Carol Berry.
Berry and her husband travel from Tennessee to southern Alabama frequently and have stayed in some of the hotels that were targeted.
“They are always pleasant. They usually have good, nice rooms, clean, and hot meals for breakfast. We always felt safe," Berry said.
Police say Clark's spree netted him more than $11,000 worth of tools from trucks and trailers in the hotel parking lots, but thanks to tips and hotel surveillance video, police caught him. Berry says the incident won’t keep her from staying in Athens in the future.
“The hotels, they know they’re doing the right thing, and I believe that the officers and those in law enforcement in this area are going to do their jobs. I would say I’d feel safe staying here again,” said Berry.
She says, from now on, when she stays over night, she’ll definitely keep an eye out.
“I’ll take precautionary measures to make sure that anything of value will be taken in, but I don’t feel like I’ll be threatened in any way. I feel like we’ll check our surroundings and know that this is a nice stopping point for us—a nice area with good people.”
Athens police tell WAAY 31 they recovered most of the stolen property, but this is still an ongoing investigation.